I climbed stairs 11 times today. Total stair count of 143.
To any client I have who is considering a move to a residence without stairs I recommend, “Don’t sell your stairs.”
A new study examining data from the U.K. Biobank of over 458,000 people shows that climbing 50 stair steps per day may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, blood clots, and heart attacks by as much as 20%.
At age 19, I tore my ACL and the medial and lateral meniscus playing sports on artificial turf. I was told I would likely get arthritis when I got older. Got the diagnosis at age 38. (It turns out that it’s just about guaranteed you will end up with arthritis if you tear an ACL.)
So, I get it. Knee pain – or other lower extremity joint – makes the idea of living without stairs appealing.
But, life in the world is going to give you stairs at some point.
I have always believed it is better to keep stairs in your life on a daily basis – even if they are hard and there is some discomfort. Remove them and when you are forced to handle stairs on occasion out in the real world, they will be significantly harder than they used to be.
Stop doing stairs, get even worse at doing stairs. For too many people, this is part of a process of doing less, avoiding progressively more quotidian challenges, and the end result is the opposite of what is desired: a less capable body more at risk of injury from everyday tasks.
Now, this latest research shows an added benefit to cardiovascular health from as little as 50 stairs a day.
I picked a random day and counted how many times I went up a flight of stairs. The day I picked was even a little below average for me and it was still 11 trips up stairs for a total of 143. (In the study, a “flight” of stairs was considered to be 10. My stairs at home number 13.)
Stairs are like walking + a gravity challenge so there’s an added benefit to every step you take that involves an increase in altitude.
This study shows that are even more reasons not to “sell your stairs.” If you live in a place with stairs, keep them for as long as you can.