To be sure, stair climbing is demanding on the cardiovascular system, which is why you need to be including a spot of manual elevation in your weekly exercise sessions. Paul.


New York Times reader David Frank of Clayton, Mo., asks the Consults blog:


While everyone knows there is benefit in walking up the stairs rather than using the elevator, is there a worthwhile health benefit from walking down stairs?


Answer
Dr. Harvey Simon, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, responds:

You’re right about climbing stairs; in fact, walking up stairs is one of the best-kept secrets in preventive medicine.


Coaches, cardiologists and housewives have long been in on the secret. Many football coaches “ask” their players to charge up flight after flight of stadium steps to get in shape, and other competitive athletes put gymnasium stairwells to similar use.

Source: Stairs as Fitness Tool? – The New York Times


More on climbing stairs from Health.com:

I like to think that I am in pretty good shape. I work out five to six times per week, have run multiple marathons and, well, I am the senior fitness editor for Health. Still, there are times when I find myself winded after climbing a flight or two of stairs. What gives?

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