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Brief Stair Climbing Can Improve your Cardio

We already know that sprinting is a time-efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness.

We know that because most studies on sprinting are are done in a lab with equipment. A new study at McMaster University in Hamilton investigated whether brief, intense, stair-climbing would be just as efficient. (Note that intense means either taking the stairs quickly or two-at-a-time and pumping with your arms.)

The study, published in the ACSM’s Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, studied 31 previously sedentary women. After three rounds of continuously ascending stairs for 20 seconds, the women’s heart rates were similar to that after performing 20-second cycling sprints.

The takeaway?

As annoying as it may be, doctors are fitness professionals are still going to tell you to take the stairs. Now we know that those 20-second bouts of intense stair-climbing throughout your day will have the same effect as actually sprinting on a spin bike.


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