Study finds number of stairs you should climb each day to lower disease risk

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Researchers found that walking up five flights of stairs daily could reduce cardiovascular ailments by around 20 percent.

Dr Lu Qi, HCA Regents Chair and professor at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, commented on the findings.

“Short bursts of high-intensity stair climbing are a time-efficient way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and lipid profile,” Dr Qi said.

For those who live in households that have stairs, going up and down them is something you might not give too much thought to.

People who live in apartments or bungalows, however, would need to climb stairs elsewhere to gain the benefits stipulated by the research.

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Dr Qi said: “These findings highlight the potential advantages of stair climbing as a primary preventive measure for ASCVD [atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease] in the general population.”

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

The NHS explains that atherosclerosis is where the arteries become narrowed, causing difficulty for the blood to flow through them.

Narrowed arteries put you at greater risk of life-threatening conditions, such as heart attack and stroke.

Symptoms of the condition could include:

  • Chest pain
  • Pain in your arms and legs, especially when exercising
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Feeling weak
  • Feeling confused.

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People over the age of 40 are eligible for a free NHS Health Check, which identifies the early warning signs of heart disease and stroke.

How did Dr Qi and his colleagues come to such conclusions?

For the study, the researchers utilised data from a UK Biobank of 450,000 adults.

Participants were assessed based on their family history of cardiovascular disease, genetic risk, and established risk factors.

These participants were asked about their lifestyle habits and the frequency with which they climb stairs.

The health of the participants was then followed up, on average, 12 years later.

The results revealed that climbing more stairs daily reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease in those who were less susceptible.

Dr Qi said: “This study provides novel evidence for the protective effects of stair climbing on the risk of ASCVD.”

The research study was published in the journal Atherosclerosis.

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