Stair climbing facts

You probably take the stairs for granted but they're an amazing feature of most buildings - here are 20 great facts to give you a boost as you climb upstairs.

  1. Stair climbing is officially classed as a ‘vigorous exercise’ and burns more calories per minute than jogging.
  2. Stair climbing requires 8-9 times more energy expenditure than sitting and burns about 7 times more calories than taking a lift.
  3. ou burn about 0.17 calories for every step you climb, so you burn roughly a calorie and a half for every 10 upward steps.
  4. You also burn calories going down. Every stair descended burns about 0.05 calories, so you burn 1 calorie for every 20 steps down.
  5. For buildings with five floors or less, it’s nearly always quicker to take the stairs. Studies show office workers save up to 15 minutes a day by taking the stairs.
  6. As well as guarding against heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers, stair climbing releases endorphins that produce feelings of wellbeing.
  7. Just 7 minutes stair climbing a day has been estimated to more than half the risk of a heart attack over 10 years.
  8. Stair climbing cuts carbon emissions. By ditching the lift in a typical office you will save between 0.3 and 0.6 Kg of Co2 a day.
  9. Professional skiers often climb stairs to keep competition-fit. Many models do the same to keep their legs toned for the catwalk.
  10. Climbing stairs is a classic ‘short burst’ exercise and ideal for the time-poor. The biggest variable in stair climbing is your weight. The heavier you are, the more calories you burn.
  11. Other variables affecting calorie burn while stair climbing include the angle of the stairs, your sex, climbing speed, age and general fitness.
  12. You burn more calories climbing stairs in high heels.
  13. It’s a myth that climbing stairs two at a time burns more calories. More energy is expended over time by taking things slowly.
  14. The greatest height reached climbing stairs in 12 hours was 33,000 feet by Chris Solarz of Philadelphia, USA. Solarz climbed 58,080 stairs.
  15. The 19th century is regarded by many as the golden era of stair construction. In the 20th century architects gave prominence to lifts.
  16. Now, with the emergence of ‘active design’, architects are once again making stairs more prominent.
  17. Many scientific studies show that simple stair prompts significantly increase stair usage. One trick is simply to point-out ‘hidden’ stairs
  18. The longest stairway listed by the Guiness Book of Records is the service stairway for the Niesenbahn funicular railway near Spiez, Switzerland. It has 11,674 steps and a round trip would burn over 3,000 calories.
  19. Going down stairs burns fewer calories but works and tones different muscles and joints. It’s also good for balance and coordination.
  20. The Roman architect Vitruvius established the first guidelines for the stair in the first century B.C, suggesting a 37 degree pitch. Most stairs are not dramatically different today.