Stairway to good health

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September 13, 2008 by Daisy Rose

Using the stairs at work instead of taking elevators could be a life saver. A new study revealed that walking up and down stairs for three months, without recourse to the lift, increased levels of fitness dramatically.

In fact, the improvement in aerobic capacity was equivalent to a 15 per cent fall in the risk of dying prematurely from any cause.

The findings, released at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology, found that using the stairs frequently will reduce waist size, body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol — all of which are known risk factors for heart disease.

The researchers at University Hospital in Geneva studied 69 employees of the university with a sedentary lifestyle, defined as less than two hours of exercise a week and fewer than 10 flights of stairs climbed a day. After not using elevators for 12 weeks, they increased their use of stairs to an average of 23 stories ascended or descended a day from five before, with a resulting sharp increase in fitness levels.

By Kasmiah Mustapha, NST

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