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The Calories Burned Climbing Stairs

written by: Donna Clarke • edited by: DaniellaNicole • updated: 2/28/2010

Ever hear the advice to "Use the stairs - not the elevator? " Think it's silly? Think again. Using the stairs is a great way to get into shape. You'd be amazed at how beneficial this simple change of routine can be and how easy it is to get fit with all those calories burned climbing stairs.

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    It's Just A Flight of Stairs

    It sounds silly, but taking the stairs is a fabulous way to get into shape, improve cardio and even reduce stress. Whether you are at work, doing household chores, or even just trying to stray on top of day to day appointments, incorporating stair exercises into your daily routine is both easy and amazingly convenient. Let's face it, stairs are almost everywhere, so why not use them? The calories burned climbing stairs add up quickly with this one simple routine change.

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    The Basics of Stair Exercise

    Using the stairs instead of the elevator starts a process of greater activity, but always remember:

    • If you are beginning a workout program, be sure to begin slowly; using handrails if you are feeling unsteady.
    • Walk down stairs, never run. Running downstairs can actually hurt your legs, specifically your knees, due to the impact or force exerted.
    • You will burn fewer calories walking down stairs than you will walking or running up stairs.
    • Stair exercises will improve stamina, burn calories and improve fitness. Though not a muscle building program, the benefits found in this form of exercise with respect to simplicity and convenience make it a perfect option for virtually anyone.
    • Walking up stairs is a fabulous way to aid in coordination and use muscles in a different way than simply power walking or jogging.
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    So How Many Calories Are We Talking About, Anyway?

    According to HealthyU, Program of Northwestern Health Sciences University, "a 150 pound person can burn up to 10 calories a minute climbing stairs according to the Calorie Control Council (CCC)."

    In other words, the calories burned climbing stairs and through stair exercises can really add up. A one hour workout for that same person burns 600 calories. That's more than 4 1/2 cup servings of Turkey Hill Chocolate Nutty Moose Tracks ice cream, or approximately 3 servings of Gorton's crunchy Fish Sticks, or 3 Kellogg's low fat strawberry pop-tarts.

    In other words, stair exercising is a great way to get in shape and still enjoy some of the foods we want to keep in our diet.

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    Calculating Calories Burned

    Martica Heaner states at health.msn that calories burned can be measured using a baseline method called MET, or metabolic equivalent, where 1 MET = burning 1 calorie per kilogram of body weight per hour. Normal exertion while climbing stairs is said to be 9 METs.

    To calculate, "convert your weight to kilograms. (Just divide by 2.2.)" Then multiply by the MET.

    Simply put, a person weighing 185 pounds, or approx 84 Kg would burn approximately 756.8 calories in an hour of stair exercising (185 divided by 2.2, X 9)

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    Let's Get Started

    No excuses, no buying special equipment, no spending on special clothes. In fact, if you are serious about benefiting from the calories burned climbing stairs, all you really need, is you.

    Stair exercising is easy, convenient and beneficial to your overall health and fitness regimen as it builds stamina and burns calories.

    Why not incorporate it into your lunch hour at work, your errands at the mall, your everyday household chores. Time will show the difference that the calories burned climbing stairs made. You will be so glad you made the change.

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    Stair Climbing: Your No Gym Workout. Northwestern Health Sciences University.