Changing your body starts with changing your overall lifestyle. Today we look at the importance of increasing daily activity, and not relying on elevator and lifts when out and about during our day. It’s literally extra calorie burning waiting to happen. But on the topic of taking the stairs, stair climbing in general is an awesome cardio workout you can incorporate anywhere!

Stair climbing might just be the best workout you’re not doing. It’s fun, free and massively effective. You can get just as good a workout outdoors as you can indoors. Stair climbing is far more flexible and allows you to mix in all manner of training techniques that you just wouldn’t be able to do on a step machine.

Indeed, exercising on the step machine or stepper is the workout equivalent of bicycle training wheels compared to getting out and walking or running up real flights of stairs. On a scale of one to ten, stair climber machines and step-ups score an okay 6-7 whereas storming up the stairs at your local stadium will score a fat torching 10!

Whether you need a cross-training activity that will take your running to greater heights, want to lose weight on the cheap, are looking for an effective all-in-one workout, or are just searching for the next challenge – stair climbing yields incredible results. You’ll be hard pressed to find a workout that combines cardio, strength and calorie burning as awesomely as does stair climbing.

• Start by warming up with exercises such as skipping or jogging, and cool down with stretching.
• When it comes to stair climbing, like any other type of exercise, practice good form. You’ll be able to workout harder and reduce the likelihood of injury.
• Don’t just use your calf muscles to power you up the stairs and avoid stepping just on your toes.
• Focus on using your larger leg muscles. With each step you take, make sure you lift your leg high, put your foot on the step and push off with your heel. This will help reduce strain on the knees and transfer the force to the hamstrings and glutes.
• When climbing down stairs, it’s safest to descend using each step. Also, ideally walk, don’t run down the stairs as this stresses the knees and ankles.
• Slow down and walk when you need to, or take a break. And remember to hydrate, especially in the summer.
• Look for long, straight, wide staircases for your workout. Some narrower staircases have many tight corners to negotiate and spiral staircases may be equally troublesome.
• Remember that stair climbing is a strenuous form of exercise so check with your healthcare professional before starting a new workout routine. Once your doc has given you the all clear, start off slow and easy and only increase the intensity and duration of your workouts gradually.

– Simon Jeremy