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Stair climbing workout to help keep your heart healthy

Coronary heart disease is the UK's biggest killer, causing around 82,000 deaths each year. There are many risk factors for heart disease. Some can be controlled, and some can't. Climbing the stairs may be able to help combat some of these risk factors for heart disease.

The risks of heart disease

You are at an increased risk of developing heart disease if you:

  • Have certain health conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
  • Do not take regular exercise
  • Smoke
  • Are overweight
  • Have a family history of heart disease
  • Are older. The older you are, the more likely you are to develop cardiovascular disease.

Not taking enough exercise is a risk factor you can do something about.

The British Heart Foundation states that around one in every five cases of coronary heart disease in developed countries is due to physical inactivity. About 7 out of 10 women and 6 in every 10 men in the UK are not active enough to protect themselves again coronary heart disease.

The solution to a lack of exercise

Being physically active has an immediate effect on your health and reduces your risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, whatever your age, size or fitness level.

Building a stair climbing workout into your daily routine is a safe and easy way to do this.

The heart is a muscle and needs physical activity to help keep it in good condition. The best type of activity to keep your heart healthy is aerobic exercise. When you do an aerobic activity, your body needs more oxygen, which means your heart and lungs have to work harder. This makes the heart and circulation more efficient, which lowers your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Step up to the challenge

Exercising by climbing the stairs is officially classed as a vigorous aerobic activity. It will strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system. Just seven minutes stair climbing a day has been estimated to more than halve the risk of a heart attack over 10 years.

Government guidelines in the UK recommend you are active every day and do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week. A 10-minute stair climbing workout will count towards this and help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

For your stair climbing workout to be effective, it needs to raise your heartbeat. If you have a heart problem you need to take care not to put your heart under too much pressure. Start slowly to minimise any strain on your heart and gradually build up your pace.

Check with GP or heart specialist before you start a new exercise.

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