Why is Taking the Stairs One at a Time Better for Fitness?

You may feel full of vim and vigour when you miss out a few steps when you’re bounding up the stairs, but you’re not actually doing your fitness or wellness any favours. This is according to new study from researcher at the University of Roehampton, who have found that taking the stairs one at a time burns more calories than leaping up multiple steps.


Even though you initially expend more energy when you take two steps per stride, you actually burn up more energy over time when you take the stairs one at a time. The University of Roehampton researchers discovered that, when climbing five floors of stairs five times a week, you would burn an average of 302 kcal if you were taking the stairs one at a time, compared with an average of 260 kcal if you were taking two steps with every stride.


According to Dr Lewis Halsey, senior lecturer in comparative and environmental physiology at the university, ‘We were really interested to find out what expended more energy overall – attacking the stairs two at a time and climbing them quickly, or taking them more sedately one step at a time and reaching the top more slowly. Our study reported the calories burned ascending stairs, the potential weight loss value of climbing stairs if done regularly and frequently during the week, and also the different energy costs of ascending stairs one step at a time versus two steps at a time. And our conclusion: it is better to take the stairs one at a time, if you want to burn the most calories.’


So that’s something to bear in mind the next time you’re taking the stairs up to work, but what other ways can you utilise to stay fit and boost your wellbeing in the office?


  • Overhead press – Sit on your chair and hold a ream of copy paper with you hands; raising it and lowering it above your head 10 to 20 times. Remember to keep your arms in front of your head on extension and don’t lock your elbows.
  • Bicep curls – Get a water bottle in each hand, curl them towards your shoulder and slowly lower them down, 10 to 20 times.
  • Seated ab crunches – Sitting on the edge of your chair, extend your arms out in front of you. Then, contract your abs and slowly lower your torso towards the back of chair, making sure to keep back straight. Hold this position for five to 10 seconds and repeat three times.

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