Despite all the hype about types the food burning potential of protein versus carbohydrates, weight loss still comes down to how many calories you burn. It isn’t to say that foods don’t vary in their values, nor that you shouldn’t eat healthy foods. Everything that works toward healthy weight loss is beneficial.
If you’re a dieter, and so many of us are, you’ve come across promise after promise from products that claim they can make you magically lose weight. When you read further, it turns out that “diet and exercise” are the keywords. That doesn’t mean that some food combinations, and some types of food, aren’t going to make the pounds come off faster. But you still have to count calories, and if you want to be healthy and maintain weight loss, you have to exercise.
There’s nothing new about using the stairs to aid weight loss. Still, few people understand precisely the benefits of walking – another excellent exercise that requires no special equipment.
The difference between walking and walking up and down stairs is tremendous. A 120-pound woman, walking at three mph for ten minutes, will burn thirty-three calories. Walking up and down stairs, she’ll burn 76 calories. A 200-pound person, again walking at three mph for ten minutes, will burn 56 calories instead of 127 when using the stairs. At four mph for ten minutes, walking for the 120-pound person will burn 43 calories. At 200 pounds, the number goes up to 72 calories-still fifty-five calories less than he’d burn using the stairs at a slower pace.
At an average pace, stair climbing is considered a low-impact exercise, but it can be hard on the knees for some people. If going down the stairs hurts, consider going where there’s an elevator to take for the down flight and use the stairs only for going up. Short breaks are easier on the knees, too. As with everything, use your head and follow your body’s lead. Often the proper muscles will build up without being overly strained and causing harm if you approach your goals slowly and carefully.
Going upstairs burns more than twice as many calories as going down does. Weight also factors in. The more important, the more calories burned. Once your body has adjusted to the exercise, you can add weights if you choose. The added weight and a faster pace will drastically speed up your weight loss.
The added muscle, of course, will temporarily slow down the numbers missing from the scale. Still, they’ll soon produce more fat-burning demands than before and will help with weight loss. At the same time, you’ll be sculpting your entire body, particularly your quadriceps (the front of your thighs) and your posterior.
Your heart will benefit, too. It’s an excellent cardiovascular exercise. A strong heart, good lungs, what more can you ask?
A 150-pound person, using the stairs for fifteen minutes, three times a week, should lose more than two pounds a month. And you don’t have to do it all at once. You can split your workouts up. Sometimes the prospect of fifteen minutes of stair climbing seems too daunting, while eight minutes sounds okay. Do the long stretch as early in the day as you can manage. By noon, you should be ready to finish off the final seven minutes. Or split it three ways. Exercise at the end of a workday releases a lot of pent-up stress. It ends the day with a feeling of satisfaction, both physically and mentally.
Stretch out when you’ve finished. It will release everything from tight muscles to accumulated pressure. Life is the movement for the mind as well as the body.