As we age, it's crucial to prioritize our health and well-being. One often overlooked but highly effective way to maintain and even improve your health as an older adult is by incorporating stair climbing into your daily routine. Stair climbing is a low-impact exercise that offers a multitude of benefits for older adults, both physically and mentally. In this blog, we will explore the numerous advantages of stair climbing, why it's a fantastic choice for anyone looking to stay active and healthy, and how the Sunny Stair Climbing Machine is a safe and efficient choice to add to your home gym.
Age-Well Benefits of Stair Climbing
1. Improved Cardiovascular Health
Stair climbing is an excellent way to get your heart pumping and improve your cardiovascular health. As you climb stairs, your heart rate increases, which helps strengthen your heart and lower your risk of heart disease. Regular stair climbing can also help reduce high blood pressure and improve your overall circulation, ensuring that your body receives an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients(1).
2. Enhances Muscular Strength and Endurance
Maintaining muscular strength and endurance is crucial as we age, and stair climbing is a fantastic way to achieve this. Climbing stairs engages various muscle groups, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles. Over time, this can help you build and maintain muscle mass, improve your balance, and reduce the risk of falls(1).
3. Weight Management
Maintaining a healthy weight becomes more challenging as we get older, but stair climbing can help. A study focused on researching the best workouts for postmenopausal women found that stair climbing not only lowered blood pressure and strengthened leg muscles, but also increased fat loss and reduced the risk of osteoporosis(2). That’s right, regular stair climbing combined with a balanced diet, can contribute to a healthier body composition.
4. Joint Health
Unlike high-impact exercises that may strain your joints, stair climbing is a low-impact activity that is gentler on your knees and hips. As we age, osteoarthritis (OA), especially in the knee, becomes quite common. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey estimates that 80% of OA patients have some sort of limitation in movement(3). Luckily, both climbing stairs and walking have demonstrated the ability to improve mobility(3,4). Stair climbing helps lubricate your joints, reduce stiffness, and improve overall function.
5. Enhances Lung Capacity
Aging can sometimes lead to reduced lung capacity, making it harder to breathe and perform everyday activities. Low cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. The good news is that you do not have to train for long periods of time, you can improve your CRF with short bursts of – you guessed it – STAIR CLIMBING(5). A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise demonstrated improved CRF with 10 minutes of exercise, three times a week, with 1-3 minutes of intermittent stair climbing(5,6). Read on to the next section to find out how the SunnyFit® App can help you reach this goal!
6. Keeps Your Brain Young
A study published in Neurobiology of Aging found that climbing stairs was associated with a younger brain(7). Having a younger brain means you will experience less age-related decline in function and size. For every additional flight of stairs climbed a day there was a 0.58 reduction in brain age(7). How’s that for encouragement to take the stairs over the elevator? This study also looked at years of education. Though this article is educational, it doesn’t technically count as a year of education, but learning something new is good for your brain too!
With all those benefits – who’s ready to step?
Start Stepping with Sunny’s Fitness Stair Stepper Machine
The Fitness Stair Stepper Machine with handlebars is the perfect addition to your home gym. It’s space efficient design lets you turn any room in your home into a personal flight of stairs. The adjustable handlebar and stabilizer ring provide a sturdy platform for safety and make for the perfect first step for anyone trying to improve strength and balance in their daily lives. The digital monitor displays count, time, calories, and total step count, ensuring an easy way to track and reach your daily step count. The red knob on the bottom will adjust the height of the step, from shallow to deep steps. I always recommend starting with a height that feels natural and that you can perform for at least 5 minutes without rest.
The hydraulic tension makes for a quiet workout; great if you share your living space with others. For the best stepper experience, do not exceed 15 consecutive minutes on your stepper. Hydraulics need time to reset and provide enough resistance as you step. Remember we learned that short bursts of stair climbing in a 10-minute workout, a few times a week, was enough to reap many of the health benefits listed above.
Even better news – you can download the SunnyFit® App right now for FREE and follow along to a stepper workout guided by an experienced fitness trainer.
What are you waiting for?
Stair climbing is a simple yet effective exercise that offers a wide range of benefits for anyone wanting to improve their health. However, it can be especially helpful in fighting age-related decline. From improving cardiorespiratory health and muscular strength to aiding in weight management and enhancing joint health, the advantages are numerous. Don't hesitate to take the first step towards a healthier and more active lifestyle by incorporating stair climbing into your daily routine today!
1. Donath, L., Faude, O., Roth, R., & Zahner, L. (2014). Effects of stair-climbing on balance, gait, strength, resting heart rate, and submaximal endurance in healthy seniors. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 24(2), e93–e101. https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.12113. Accessed 6 October 2023.
2. The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). (2018, February 14). Climb stairs to lower blood pressure and strengthen leg muscles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2023 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180214093842.htm. Accessed 6 October 2023.
3. Wiley. (2014, June 12). 6,000 steps a day keeps knee osteoarthritis limitations away. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2023 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612085120.htm. Accessed 6 October 2023.
4. White, D.K., Tudor-Locke, C., Zhang, Y., Fielding, R., LaValley, M., Felson, D.T., Gross, K.D., Nevitt, M.C., Lewis, C.E., Torner, J. and Neogi, T. (2014), Daily Walking and the Risk of Incident Functional Limitation in Knee Osteoarthritis: An Observational Study. Arthritis Care & Research, 66: 1328-1336. https://doi.org/10.1002/acr.22362. Accessed 6 October 2023.
5. McMaster University. (2017, February 7). Researchers find brief, intense stair climbing is a practical way to boost fitness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2023 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170207105329.htm. Accessed 6 October 2023.
6. ALLISON, MARY K.; BAGLOLE, JESSICA H.; MARTIN, BRIAN J.; MACINNIS, MARTIN J.; GURD, BRENDON J.; GIBALA, MARTIN J.. Brief Intense Stair Climbing Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 49(2):p 298-307, February 2017. | DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001188. Accessed 6 October 2023.
7. Jason Steffener, Christian Habeck, Deirdre O'Shea, Qolamreza Razlighi, Louis Bherer, Yaakov Stern. Differences between chronological and brain age are related to education and self-reported physical activity. Neurobiology of Aging, 2016; 40: 138 DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2016.01.014. Accessed 6 October 2023.