Cardiovascular conditions claimed maximum lives globally in the year 2016. Scientists and health experts around the world are working round the clock to devise new techniques and tips to manage the condition better. And if this new study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism is to be believed, a few minutes of stair climbing also called the ‘stair snacking’ approach, at short intervals between work, can improve cardiovascular health in a big way. This way of workout may prove especially effective for those who are pressed for time and find it difficult to take out extra time for physical activity in their hectic schedule. Doing so can give a boost to anybody’s fitness anytime through the day, the study revealed.
“The findings make it even easier for people to incorporate ‘exercise snacks’ into their day,” says Martin Gibala, professor at McMaster University in Canada.
“Those who work in office towers or live in apartment buildings can vigorously climb a few flights of stairs in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening and know they are getting an effective workout.”
Through this study, the researchers challenge the findings of previous studies which said brief bouts of vigorous exercise or sprint interval training (SIT) are effective when performed as a single session, requiring a total time commitment of 10 minutes or so.
For this study, researchers set out to determine if SIT exercise snacks, or vigorous bouts of stairclimbing performed as single sprints spread throughout the day, would be sufficient enough to improve cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF).
As part of this study, one group of sedentary young adults was made to vigorously climb a three-flight stairwell, three times per day. They repeated the regime three times each week over the course of six weeks and met fantastic results. The change in their fitness was compared to a control group which did not exercise.
The findings, revealed that although sprint interval training is effective but the stair snacking approach was also worth a try.
“Vigorously climbing a few flights of stairs on your coffee or bathroom break during the day seems to be enough to boost fitness in people who are otherwise sedentary,” said Jonathan Little, Assistant Professor at University of British Columbia in Canada.
The stair climbers were also stronger as compared to their sedentary counterparts and were more powerful during a maximal cycling test.
In future, researchers hope to investigate different exercise snacking protocols with varying recovery times and the effect on other health-related indicators such as blood pressure and glycemic control, the team noted.