Stair climber burns calories, saves knees

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By Kelsey Gwinn

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If you have ever walked into Dedman Rec Center, you have probably seen a row of three stair climbers in the back right. If you have never tried one, you are certainly missing out.

Stair climbers are great for workouts – not only are they a great cardio exercise, but they also build leg muscle. The stair climber helps tone and strengthen calves, thighs, quads and hamstrings. And, stair climbers are super easy on joints.

Compare this exercise to running. Running works your legs and improves cardio, but it can be very hard on the knees. That being said, proper running technique does very little harm to your joints. Running on the ground is still different than running on a treadmill, though. Running on a treadmill does even less harm to knees than running on pavement. Still, though, the stair climber is the least impactful.

Stair climbers are very easy on joints, but they are very tough on calories. According to the MyFitnessPal app, 15 minutes on the stair climber burns around 157 calories. Jogging at 6 miles per hour (or about 10 minutes per miles) for 15 minutes burns around 139 calories. You would have to run a nine-minute mile to burn almost the same amount of calories as the stair climber. Clearly everyone burns different calories based on various factors, but the stair climber seems like a solid choice for cardio exercise.

I am not hoping to deter anyone from running. I love running. I think it is a great way to speed up metabolism. I do, however, want to expose everyone to another great cardio and muscle exercise. The stair climber is wonderful. You can typically set it to different levels and increase/decrease speed during usage. Sometimes, I do the stair climber for 30 minutes and increase the speed every five minutes. Other times, I’ll start at a super high speed for five minutes and then decrease it every two minutes. The stair climber really offers a creative, personal workout.

For a really good workout this week, start with the stair climber. Start on level eight for the first five minutes, increase to level nine between minutes five and 10, and then increase intensity to level 10 for five more minutes. For an even better workout, switch back to level nine between minutes 15 and 20, and then switch back to level eight for the last five minutes. This 15-25 minute warm-up exercise will not completely wear you out for the rest of your workout, but it will build muscle and significantly help with cardio.

The stair climber is an all-around good workout and is a fun way to stay in shape or get fit.

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