OCT 05, 2023 11:00 AM PDT

Taking the Stairs Daily Cuts Risk of Heart Disease

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

A new study published in the journal Atherosclerosis has shown that walking up more than five flights of steps per day may decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 20%.

The prospective study included over 450,000 adults from the UK Biobank. Participants were surveyed about their stair climbing habits as well as about lifestyle and sociodemographic factors at baseline and after five years. Additionally, data on atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease was collected, including the development of coronary artery disease, ischemic stroke, or acute complications. The mean follow-up time was 12.5 years. The goal of the study was to determine the associations between stair climbing and the onset of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

The results of the study showed that climbing more than five flights of stairs per day was associated with an approximately 20% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The effects of stair climbing were particularly pronounced for people who were less susceptible to developing cardiovascular disease based on their family history, genetics, and other risk factors.  

The authors of the study noted that stair climbing is a good way to improve fitness and lipid profiles with a relatively small time investment. High-intensity stair climbing may be a good option for people who struggle to meet daily physical activity goals since it is fast and relatively accessible. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and many cases of cardiovascular disease could be prevented or improved with relatively small changes in physical activity levels. Physical fitness is one of the pillars of heart health, and this study shows the effectiveness of stair climbing in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Sources: Atherosclerosis, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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