Scientists have found that climbing stairs for just a few minutes at short intervals throughout the day can significantly improve heart health. The research, published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, suggests that virtually anyone can improve their fitness, anywhere, any time. Martin Gibala, a professor at McMaster University in Canada, in the study has opined that the findings make it even easier for people to incorporate ‘exercise snacks’ into their day.
Gibala said those who work in office towers or live in apartment buildings can vigorously climb a few flights of stairs in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening as they are getting an effective workout. Previous studies had shown that brief bouts of vigorous exercise, or sprint interval training (SIT), are effective when performed as a single session, with a few minutes of recovery between the intense bursts, requiring a total time commitment of 10 minutes or so.
For the study, researchers set out to determine if SIT exercise snacks, or vigorous bouts of stairclimbing performed as single sprints spread throughout the day would be sufficient enough to improve cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF), an important healthy marker that is linked to longevity and cardiovascular disease risk. To their surprise, researchers were a bit surprised to see that the stair snacking approach was also effective like the sprint interval training.