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You should wear a pair of comfortable, well-cushioned athletic shoes during stair climbing exercise. Stair Climbing - (normal speed) 6 to 8 Calories per minute. Correct posture and stance are two important considerations when using a stair climber. The most common error encountered in stair climbing is using your arms to support your body's weight. The handlebars on the stair climber are for support only. By bearing down on the handles to support your body weight, you increase the likelihood of wrist and elbow strain and you also decrease the overall intensity of your workout.

Correct body positioning for the stair climber is to stand up straight with your upper body in the same vertical plane as your hips and legs. Leaning over while stair climbing can put undo strain on your lower back.

As with any aerobic activity, it's important to start your workout with a warm-up that generally takes about five minutes. During this time, your heart rate slowly climbs and your muscles begin to warm up.

After an initial warm-up period, it is best to start the stair climber at a lower step rate and gradually work up to a stepping rate that will elevate your heart rate to a level within your target heart zone. During your workout, you can alternate between a slower, deeper step routine and a quicker, shallower stepping motion.

End your stepping program with a cool-down period including a stretching routine that allows your heart rate to gradually return to about 100 beats per minute.

To avoid potential injuries, do not allow children or pets to be in the immediate region of a stair climber while it is in motion

The number of calories burned during any aerobic activity varies depending on the duration and intensity of your workout.

In general, aerobic activities performed at low to moderate intensity for 30 minutes burns about 250 calories.

In addition to providing an aerobic workout, stair climbing helps tone muscles in your calves, thighs and buttocks.

Stair climbing is a lower-impact alternative compared with jogging or running, and it can be performed indoors independent of outside weather conditions.

Once you establish a safe stepping motion, you can enjoy activities such as music, reading and television while completing your aerobic workout.

Hyperextension injuries of the knee can occur during the bottom of the pedal stroke when the knee is fully extended. Before using a stair climber at a health club or local gym, it's a good idea to consult with a fitness trainer, who can assist you in ensuring proper knee positioning. Also, as fatigue sets in, some people tend to place more weight on the triceps, which limits the cardio benefit.

In lieu of using a store-bought stair climber, simply use those in your home, office or the local high school.

Stair Climbing Benefits

This activity is low-impact and safe for as long as you strictly observe the safety rules outlined below. It uses the muscles of the buttocks and the quadriceps (front of the thigh) muscles. It also gives your heart a super workout because you're literally carrying your weight as you work against gravity.

Stair climbing is time efficient as it burns an unbelievable 300 calories in 30 minutes, depending on your pace and body weight.

This could be just the answer to our many alibis to keep from doing routines, such as "dogs chase me at the park," or "the smog outside is just terrible"!

If you're using your office stairs, it's better to do this activity after work as you'll be all sweaty and exhausted. However, if you're utilizing your apartment building staircase, early in the morning would be great!

Walk around your apartment or office for about five minutes prior to tackling the stairs. You should also stretch your calves, quads, and hamstrings to avoid tearing.

On the first week, do the following for 10-15 minutes: Climb 2 flights and then march in place or walk around the entire floor for a couple of minutes to avoid "burning" thigh muscles or shortness of breath. Add five minutes every week to this routine until you're finally able to climb the entire flight without needing to march in place or walk around the floor to catch your breath.

Safety Precautions for Stair Climbing

  • Wear shoes with good support -- the best ones are aerobic or cross-training shoes. Running shoes are not recommended because they don't give enough lateral support.

  • Make sure that the stairwell is well-lit and well-ventilated.

  • Drink enough water before, during, and after the workout.

  • Discontinue the session as soon as you feel any of the following: nausea, dizziness, heart palpitation, and disorientation, among others.

  • Alternate this activity with other forms of cardio so as to prevent overuse injury (caused by impacting the same bones and muscles over and over again).

  • Contrary to popular belief, your knees are more stressed coming down than they are going up because of your reflex of "putting on the brakes," just as the downhill part of mountain climbing is more dangerous. You may want to take the elevator on the way back if you're just beginning.

  • Assume the proper stance: Lean forward a bit from the hips and keep your back straight. Never slouch while stair climbing.

  • Don't climb with heels hanging off the edge of the step as you'll risk injuring your Achilles tendon. Instead, place your entire foot on each step.

  • Never climb a totally desolate area of the building! In the unlikely event of an accident, make sure that you can be heard if you cry out for help.

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