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.
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.