Climbing Stairs Reduces Risk for Cardiovascular Death - EMJ

Climbing Stairs Reduces Risk for Cardiovascular Death

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TAKING the stairs could be the simple yet effective key to a longer and healthier life, according to new research presented at a leading scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), ESC Preventive Cardiology 2024.

Sophie Paddock, University of East Anglia and Norwich University Hospital Foundation Trust, UK, emphasised the importance of choosing stairs over elevators for heart health. “Even brief bursts of physical activity have beneficial health impacts, and short bouts of stair climbing should be an achievable target to integrate into daily routines,” she stated.

Cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death worldwide, is largely preventable through lifestyle changes such as regular exercise. However, a significant portion of adults globally fail to meet recommended levels of physical activity. In light of this, researchers aimed to investigate the potential benefits of stair climbing, an often-overlooked form of physical activity, in reducing cardiovascular risks and premature death.

A meta-analysis comprising nine studies and over 480,000 participants revealed that, compared to individuals who did not climb stairs, those who did exhibited a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality. They also exhibited a remarkable 39% lower likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, stair climbing was associated with decreased risks of specific cardiovascular events like heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes.

Paddock urged people to incorporate stair climbing into their daily routines, emphasising that the more stairs climbed, the greater the potential benefits. “Whether at work, home, or elsewhere, take the stairs,” she advised, underscoring the importance of this simple yet impactful lifestyle choice for heart health and longevity.



Paddock S et al. Optimal exercise modalities for primary and secondary prevention. Session 43391. ESC Preventive Cardiology, 25-27 April, 2024.


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