We all want to extend our quantity and quality of life, so researchers are always looking for quantitative measures of how to make that happen. A recent study by Dr. Jesús Peteiro, the study author and a cardiologist at University Hospital A Coruña in A Coruña, Spain, has given us an easy and affordable way to measure our baseline of fitness.
Here's the test...see if you can climb four flights of stairs at a fast pace — in under a minute — without having to stop.⏳ For definition purposes, a flight of stairs is what gets you from one floor to the next in a building. If you can't achieve four flights in under a minute, don't be discouraged. Time yourself, get some daily exercise, and time yourself again a month later (if you aren't exercising, see your doctor first before attempting).
If you can do it, you have good functional capacity. If not, it’s a sign you need more exercise, he noted. Peteiro wasn’t surprised by his study’s findings. "Physical activity has positive effect on blood pressure and lipids, reduces inflammation and improves the body`s immune response to tumors."
The latest exercise guidelines for Americans say adults need at least 2 ½ hours to 5 hours a week of moderate intensity exercise; or 1 hour, 15 minutes to 2 ½ hours of intense activity every week. The time can be broken up however you choose, so taking a 5-10 minute break from your desk every hour to climb the stairs would be good for both your mind and body!
As for stairs offering clues to a person’s heart health, doctors already ask patients whether they can go up a flight of stairs without symptoms before clearing them for major surgery. Other tests found to predict longevity include being able to get back up without support after sitting on the floor.
I like to do G2S (ground to stand) exercises with my clients that get them up and down off the floor by using leg and core strength. Bonus - climbing the stairs will not only help with cardiovascular capacity; you will also be strengthening your lower body at the same time! 🙌🏻
So give your body a big boost and go climb some stairs!