Doing this more than 5 times each day slashes heart disease risk by 20 percent!

NEW ORLEANS — Looking for an easy way to boost your heart health? The secret might be as simple as opting for the stairs! New research reveals that regularly climbing stairs might be your heart’s secret ally against a condition known as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). This condition can cause your arteries to narrow and harden due to plaque, leading to heart diseases and strokes.

Researchers at Tulane University delved into the health data of nearly 459,000 adults and followed them for about 12.5 years, aiming to uncover the relationship between stair climbing and heart health. They categorized individuals based on how often they climbed stairs and monitored for any development of heart disease and related conditions. Those who climbed more than five flights of stairs daily had a 20-percent lower risk of developing ASCVD compared to non-climbers.

Plain and simple: The more stairs you climb, the better it is for your heart health.

Think of your risk of developing heart disease as a score in a game — lower scores mean lower risks. If you don’t climb any stairs, you start with a score of 1. Now, by climbing one to five times a day, you can lower your score to 0.97! If you climb six to 10 times, it’s 0.84! For those climbing 11–15, 16–20, and 21 or more times a day, the scores are 0.78, 0.77, and 0.81 respectively. So, more stairs equals a lower score and a healthier heart.

Person walking up stairs, steps for exercise
Climbing at least five flights of stairs each day is a simple strategy to reduce the risk of heart disease, research shows. (Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash)

Take The Stairs — And Don’t Look Back

The study found that those who initially climbed stairs but stopped had a 32-percent higher risk of developing ASCVD. So, the key is to maintain the habit consistently to keep reaping the benefits for your heart.

In our fast-paced lives, it’s crucial to find efficient ways to maintain our health. This study illuminates the simplicity and accessibility of stair climbing as a form of exercise that can significantly impact our heart health positively. Whether you’re at home, at work, or out and about, choosing stairs over the elevator can become a game-changing habit for maintaining cardiovascular health.

“Short bursts of high-intensity stair climbing are a time-efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and lipid profile, especially among those unable to achieve the current physical activity recommendations,” says study corresponding author Dr. Lu Qi, a professor at Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, in a statement. “These findings highlight the potential advantages of stair climbing as a primary preventive measure for ASCVD in the general population.”

Make climbing more than five flights of stairs — about 50 steps — a daily goal to shield against severe heart diseases and strokes. Remember, consistency is crucial. Start incorporating stair climbing into your routine, and let’s commit to a healthier heart. Whether you have a family history of heart disease or not, taking the stairs could be your easy and effective path to a longer, healthier life.

The study is published in the journal Atherosclerosis.

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StudyFinds Staff

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  1. This is too simple. It may be that those that can climb stairs are healthy and have healthy hearts. The correlation isn’t necessarily causation.

  2. Smart people are going to exercise more. It is little surprise that exercised people are smart people.

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