Benefits of Climbing Stairs For 20 Minutes – A Complete Guide
Walking or running up and down stairs provides all kinds of benefits. From increased endurance and strength to improved bone density and balance.
By adding a stair walking workout into your training each week, you can strengthen the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles. It can also help you improve your cardiovascular fitness and lose those unwanted kilos.
While there are many benefits of climbing stairs for 20 minutes or more, how much time should you spend walking up and down stairs to get the best benefit from it?
In this article, we discuss the benefits of climbing stairs, how much is enough, and whether climbing stairs can damage your knees or not. So, let’s get started.
Why Should You Add Stairs To Your Training?
There are many reasons why you should add stairs to your training plan and not just the health benefits.
Running or walking up stairs makes you work against gravity, which builds strength and power. By climbing stairs, you will rapidly increase your heart rate and cause your breathing to increase. This in turn improves your VO2max, lung efficiency, and supply of oxygen to the muscles.
While the health and cardiovascular benefits of walking and running stairs are similar to walking and running hills, it does help improve your balance and agility more. It also allows beginners to get a high-intensity workout without needing to run. Alternatively, for the more experienced athlete, running stairs can help improve knee drive, running technique, v02max, and general strength.
Because of all these benefits, it is beneficial for fitness enthusiasts to add stair workouts into their training. However, do overdo it and keep stairs sessions to a maximum of two workouts a week.
Benefits Of Climbing Stairs For 20 Minutes
To get the full benefit from walking stairs you need to do at least a 20-minute workout. By spending 20-35 minutes walking or running stairs you will find that it works the entire lower body better than other forms of training. This is due to gravity, and because your feet and legs need to carry your weight up and down the stairs.
While there are many benefits of climbing stairs for 20 minutes or more, you need to be careful. Doing more than a 35-minute stair workout (whether walking or running) can place too much stress on the knees.
It is also important to break the workout into segments, rather than a nonstop session. A good session breakdown could be 3×10 minutes, 2 x 20 minutes, or even something shorter like 5×5 minutes or 10 x 3minutes. A lot depends on the intensity you plan to workout. Generally, the faster you travel up the stairs the shorter each segment should be.
Remember variation is the key to improving your fitness. So, instead of walking or running up and down stairs for 20 minutes, try to vary the workout. This can be done by shortening the duration, intensity, or shorter recovery.
How Many Minutes of Stairs Is A Good Workout?
For most people, a 25 to 30-minute stair workout is good enough to build strength and improve cardiovascular fitness. These can either be done non-stop or through intervals.
This will depend on your goals for the workout. If your goal is to improve v02max, then you would want to run up the stairs and perform intervals of 2-5 minutes. Alternatively, if your goal is to improve endurance, then running or walking for the entire 20 to 30 minutes is the best option.
However, that doesn’t mean shorter stair workouts aren’t as beneficial as longer ones. You will just need to increase the intensity of the workout if you are doing less than 20 minutes.
While the recommended time spent on the stairs is between 20 to 30 minutes, your workout should include a warm-up and warm down. This will increase the total workout length by another 10-15 minutes.
Your warm-up should include some easy walking or running, followed by some efforts at a higher intensity. This will help raise the heart rate and warm up the muscles. This will help reduce the chances of injury and put the body through a full range of movement to help increase your mobility before the key part of the workout.
Does Climbing Stairs Damage Knees?
Too much stair running and walking can potentially damage your knees. This is because each time you go down the stairs you put significant force on the patello-femoral joint located beneath the kneecap.
This damage is often intensified for people that have poor quadriceps and glute muscles. Since there is poor strength and muscle located in those areas, the muscle won’t absorb the force of each step. This results in added stress to the knee.
If you are one of these people that struggle with sore knees after climbing stairs, try to reduce the duration of the workout and slowly build it up over time.
Benefits Of Climbing Stairs For 20 Minutes – Final Words
By just adding 1 to 2 stair workouts a week, you will help strengthen the lower body and improve your cardiovascular fitness. It can also help shred those unwanted belly fat and when paired with another form of cardio or weight training, will help create a well-trained and fit body.
Just remember to build into the workout, and slowly increase the intensity and duration of the workout. That way there will be less stress on the knees and you find yourself dealing with muscles soreness after every stair workout.