For some of us, the idea of running up and down stairs (on purpose!) seems a little strange. After all, we’ve spent years using escalators, travelators and lifts to do the hard work for us.
But if you are trying to lose weight, and also trying to get your recommended 10,000 steps in per day, it’s an AWESOME way to burn calories.
For instance, someone who is 75kg would burn 340 calories by running up and down stairs for 20 minutes.
How stair running can help you lose weight
Running on stairs gets your heart rate pumping, and also tones up the muscles in your legs, thighs, and butt.
You don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment at home to get fit this way. Stair running is free – and there are stairs everywhere!
Many people find the idea of stair running a little daunting. That’s OK. Like any new exercise, it can be a bit hard at first to get your head in the right frame of mind.
So with this in mind, we’ve put together a guide to get into stair running step by step
1. How to begin
Wondering what’s the best way to begin stair running? You guessed it – by running up the stairs. There’s no need to be great at running, or gifted on a cross trainer.
2. Warm up
Instead of beginning your workout on the stairs, begin with a short 5 minute walk on solid ground to get you warmed up. Then follow this with 10 star jumps, 10 push ups and 10 burpees. You should be feeling pretty warm and ready to go.
3. Start off slowly
Like any cardio exercise, it’s not a good idea to go from 0 to 100 flights of stairs in the first session. You need to give your body time to get used to it (and you may feel a little sore the next day after your first few sessions on the stairs).
You will be using muscles that you don’t normally do. So after your warm up, take a gentle pace up and down the stairs for five minutes.
4. Build it up over time
For the first session, after your warm up begin to walk up and down the stairs at a moderate pace for 10 minutes. See how that goes.
The next time, take it up to a jog for 10 minutes. From there, you can choose your own increments to build from, for instance 15 mins jogging, then 20 mins jogging. Or you may prefer to do a circuit of 1 min jogging and 1 min walking. Which leads us into…
5. Find an intensity that suits you
Some of you may be more than comfortable jogging the whole way, where others may need to mix it up between jogging and walking. Some people may be happy to take the stairs two at a time. Either way, you need to find a level that suits you.
That’s not to say it needs to be easy – far from it. You should be breathless and find it hard to hold a conversation if you want to be burning calories. Just take care not to push yourself too hard which can lead to injury.
6. Wear the right shoes
A pair of properly fitted shoes is probably the only necessary piece of equipment for stair running. You will be putting pressure on your feet and ankles, so they need to be well supported to avoid injury and falls.
7. Remember you can split it up
If you don’t have a whole chunk of time to dedicate to exercise, you can always break your workout into more manageable pieces. For instance you may be able to fit 10 minutes in at home in the morning while the kids eat breakfast.
Then you may find 10 minutes in the afternoon near the park. Incremental exercise is still very beneficial for weight loss, so don’t feel as though you can’t do it bit by bit.
8. Do it regularly
The next piece of advice is to keep doing it! Once you get started, you may decide to commit to two sessions of stairs per week.
Or perhaps you can commit to 10 minutes of stair running per day. Either way, schedule it in and you will find that in time you get used to it and can push yourself harder or longer.
9. Remember to cool down
At the end of your workout, take another stroll around on the ground for 5 to 10 minutes to cool down. Then do some stretching of your quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. This can help to reduce soreness the next day.
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