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Three Minutes of Stair Climbing a Week Can Improve Heart Health

 

You can no longer say that you have no time to exercise! Kinesiology researchers have now found that even brief high-intensity stair climbing can greatly improve heart health.

Dr. Martin Gibala, lead author and principal investigator of the study says,

“Stair climbing is a form of exercise anyone can do in their own home, after work or during the lunch hour. This research takes interval training out of the lab and makes it accessible to everyone.”

In this new study, researchers recruited around 30 women who were sedentary (less than an hour of physical activity a week) but otherwise healthy.  The women were required to perform 20-second bouts of “all-out” stair climbing, 3 consecutive times, 3 times a week — that is, a total of 3 minutes of vigorous exercise in a week.

The exercises did also involve a 7-minute warm-up and cool down period, meaning the participants were required to perform a total of 30 minutes of exercise weekly.

Over a 6-week period, participants showed improvements in heart health, particularly in cardiovascular fitness, which is an important marker of longevity.

Previous research has already shown that stair climbing has benefits on cardiovascular fitness when performed over extended periods of time — around 70 minutes a week. This study was the first to show that interval training — short high-intensity bouts of exercise — in the form of stair climbing can also greatly improve heart-related fitness.

The authors concluded that “intense stair climbing is a time-efficient strategy to increase cardiovascular fitness.”

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