Achieving the recommended 10,000 steps per day, equivalent to roughly 5 miles of walking, can be challenging for many individuals. However, recent research suggests alternative ways to attain similar health benefits without dedicating a substantial amount of time to walking. A study involving over 450,000 adults, published in the medical journal Atherosclerosis, indicates that climbing just five flights of stairs per day, approximately 50 steps, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20%. The study reveals that breaking up the climbing into smaller segments throughout the day provides similar cardiovascular benefits as climbing five flights at once.
Dr. Darien Sutton, an emergency medicine physician and ABC News medical correspondent, suggests incorporating stair climbing into daily routines, such as choosing a bathroom on a different floor at the workplace. In addition to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, stair climbing is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and enhanced muscle strength. Another study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine supports the idea that short bursts of activity contribute to overall well-being. Engaging in vigorous movement, such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling, for 20 to 25 minutes per day is linked to increased longevity.
Conversely, individuals who spend most of their day in a sedentary state, with less than 20 minutes of activity, face an elevated mortality risk of up to 40%, according to the study. Dr. Sutton emphasizes the significance of movement in promoting longevity, highlighting that even a few minutes of daily activity can yield substantial benefits. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, equivalent to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The CDC also encourages muscle-strengthening activities twice a week, emphasizing the flexibility to spread activity throughout the week in smaller time increments.