I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with stairs. Actually, it’s more of a grudging respect-hate relationship. They hurt, oh how they hurt, but damn they’re good for you.
Stairs Wednesday has become a bit of a tradition in my workplace. Every week we lace up our joggers and head to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for a little dose of hell on earth. Now the concept of a stairs workout just ain’t that complicated. You go up, you go down. Singles, doubles, jumps, hops, however you do it, it’s going to hurt. And this week, hurt it did. By the end of our session I was literally dripping with sweat, and my legs were shaking for the entire jog (which I’m big enough to admit petered into a walk) back to the office.
So what is it about stairs that just – in the words of Johnny Mellencamp – hurts so good?
Well, firstly, stairs are an incredible cardio workout – you’ll be huffing and puffing after just a round or two. Don’t give in to the burn – keep that chest up, use your arms and drive your way upwards. Use each trip back down the stairs as active rest.
Strength building – you’re feeling it through your butt and legs and that’s a good thing! Take single stairs to focus on your calves, doubles to work deeper into your glutes and quads and for a real plyometric workout, dig deep and go for triples.
Calorie burn – an hour of stair running could burn up to 1000 calories (although you’d have to be certifiable to attempt it). A 15 to 20-minute session is more than enough to get that blood pumping and the oxygen flowing, and you’ll be burning bonus calories for hours afterwards.
Once you open your eyes to the joy of stairs you’ll see notice them everywhere, so there’s no more room for excuses! Add a little stairs session to your life – I guarantee you won’t regret it.