Exercise can seem daunting, exhausting or downright impossible if you are busy…and who isn’t busy? Time and gym access are the two biggest excuses Americans cite for not working out.  Research conducted at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, suggests that taking the stairs 30 minutes a week can give our body adequate exercise for good health.

Stair climbing is a rigorous activity and previous research has found climbing stairs can burn calories two to three times faster than just walking. In the McMaster study, 17 healthy men, average age 64, were asked to walk, lift weights, and climb stairs. Climbing stairs, it turns out, was twice as taxing as brisk walking on a level surface, and 50 percent harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights.  

Another recent study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, sought to determine if short intervals of intense activity – like stair climbing –  were effective as a training strategy. Thirty-one sedentary, but otherwise healthy women were divided into two groups committed to an 10 minute exercise routine. One group was required to perform three sessions of 20-second stair climbing. The other participant group had a similar routine using an exercise bike. Both groups trained for 45 days. The findings revealed stair climbing led to an increase in cardiovascular fitness, a important healthy marker linked to longevity.

Taking the stairs isn’t the only way to trick yourself into exercising. There are other ways to exercise and get in shape that don’t feel like exercise. Walking, dancing and gardening are just three examples of activities that are easy to do and enjoyable.  Remember, if you are inactive now, any exercise will improve your health.


Andrea wants to live in a world where the neighborhoods are walkable, bike lanes are plentiful, and the food is fresh, delicious and readily available. A 20-year veteran of the health and wellness industry, she started her career in the fitness industry while earning a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, and then on to the burgeoning field of worksite wellness. Andrea has competed in collegiate level soccer, worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, wellness coach, and master trainer, climbed 14ers, and completed cycling centuries and metric centuries. All of these experiences give her the opportunity to view well-being from many different perspectives. When she’s not helping others to be their healthiest self, you can find her at a farm to table restaurant, down dogging at the yoga studio, or experiencing the Colorado landscape on a bicycle, snowshoes, cross country skis or on foot.