Small attacks of climbing stairs can improve heart health (Representational Image) & nbsp | & nbspCredit photo: & nbspGetty Images
Toronto: Climbing stairs for only a few minutes at short intervals throughout the day can significantly improve heart health, according to a study. The research, published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, suggests that virtually anyone can improve their fitness, anywhere, anytime. "The findings make it even easier for people to incorporate exercise snacks into their day," said Martin Gibala, a professor at McMaster University in Canada.
"Those who work in office towers or live in apartment buildings can vigorously climb a few flights of stairs in the morning, at lunch and at night, and know they are doing an effective workout," Gibala said. Previous studies have shown that brief episodes of vigorous exercise or interval training (SIT) are effective when performed in a single session, with a few minutes of recovery between intense bursts, requiring a total commitment time of 10 minutes or more.
For the study, the researchers decided to determine whether SIT snacks or vigorous climbing exercises performed as single sprints scattered throughout the day would be sufficient to improve cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), an important healthy marker that is linked to longevity and cardiovascular disease. risk.
A group of sedentary young adults vigorously climbed a three-story staircase three times a day, separated by one to four hours of recovery.
They repeated the protocol three times a week over six weeks. The researchers compared the change in their fitness to a control group that did not exercise.
"We know that sprint interval training works, but we were a bit surprised to see that the ladder snack approach was also effective," said Jonathan Little, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada.
"Vigorously climbing a few flights of stairs in your coffee or in the bathroom during the day seems to be enough to increase fitness in sedentary people," Little said.
In addition to being in better shape, step climbers were also stronger in comparison to their sedentary colleagues at the end of the study and generated more power during a maximal cycling test.
In the future, researchers hope to investigate different exercise snack protocols with varying recovery times, and the effect on other health-related indicators such as blood pressure and glycemic control.