This simple action could help reduce the risk of heart disease

Science and Health

Have you ever considered that you don’t need to walk 10,000 steps a day to maintain a healthy heart?

Recent research reveals that climbing five flights of stairs daily may be sufficient to lower the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

New Research

A team of researchers delved into the link between stair climbing intensity and ASCVD risk, discovering that ascending more than five flights of stairs (equivalent to about 50 steps) daily can potentially reduce the risk by as much as 20%. These significant findings were published in the journal Atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular condition characterized by the buildup of plaque, primarily composed of fats or cholesterol, in the heart’s arteries. This buildup can ultimately lead to a heart attack.

The study’s researchers analyzed data from 458,860 adult participants in the British Biobank. Through surveys, they gathered information about stair climbing habits, socio-demographic factors, and lifestyle both at the study’s outset and after a five-year interval. The participants were tracked for an average of 12.5 years.

The researchers noted that climbing more than five flights of stairs (approximately 50 steps) daily was linked to a reduced risk of ASCVD, independent of disease susceptibility. Participants who ceased stair climbing between the baseline and resurvey after several years faced a higher ASCVD risk compared to those who never climbed stairs.

What the findings mean: People should climb stairs

These findings suggest that incorporating stair climbing into one’s daily routine can effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly among individuals who are less prone to the condition. The researchers recommend stair climbing as a cost-effective and accessible exercise that anyone can adopt. They also believe that individuals at a higher risk of ASCVD can mitigate that risk by adopting this simple habit.

Lu Qi, the study’s editor from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in Louisiana, further explained that high-intensity stair climbing is a time-efficient means to enhance cardiorespiratory fitness and lipid profile, particularly for those who may struggle to meet current physical activity recommendations.

These findings underscore the potential benefits of stair climbing as a primary preventive measure for the general population, offering new evidence for its protective effects against heart disease risk, especially for individuals with multiple risk factors.