JAN 26, 2023 9:00 AM PST

Stair Climbing Routine Is Beneficial for Heart Patients

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

A new study published in Frontiers in Sports and Active Living has shown that vigorous stair-climbing routines have significant muscular and cardiovascular benefits for heart patients.

The study included 18 patients who were diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Patients were assigned to either a traditional moderate-intensity exercise program or a high-intensity interval stair-climbing routine. Patients completed four weeks of supervised sessions followed by eight weeks of unsupervised sessions. The stair climbing routine involved three rounds of climbing six flights of stairs (each with 12 stairs), each separated by recovery periods of walking that lasted 90 seconds. The participants were allowed to set their own vigorous-intensity pace for the exercise. The traditional exercise group involved at least 30 minutes of exercise at 60-80% of the participants’ maximum heart rates. Both groups had their cardiorespiratory fitness assessed at baseline, after four weeks, and at the end of the study.

The results showed that both traditional exercise and high-intensity interval stair climbing significantly improved cardiovascular fitness after four weeks of training, and the improvements were maintained throughout the last eight weeks of unsupervised training. Both groups also saw muscular improvement throughout the study.

Fitness is an important predictor of mortality after cardiac events, and these results show that stair climbing is a viable option for improving fitness in heart patients. This information is particularly useful for people without regular access to a gym; stairs may be both more accessible and cheaper, and stair climbing exercises can result in similar fitness improvements compared to gym routines. For those without coronary artery disease or other cardiovascular disease, regular exercise is still an important component of improving and maintaining heart health that is recommended by the American Heart Association.

Sources: Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 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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