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Stairway to Health

Benefits of Stair Climbing

There are a multitude of benefits to taking the stairs at work as part of physical activity in the workplace. These benefits may include improved morale, a sense of well-being, higher energy levels, and improved team building. Below are the measurable benefits that are indicated in research on stair use.


  • Canada's Physical Activity Guide recommends that Canadians accumulate 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity each day.

  • Stair climbing is possible in many workplaces and requires no special equipment in order to participate.

  • There is evidence to suggest that moderate intensity lifestyle activities like taking the stairs may be more successfully promoted than structured vigorous intensity exercise programs (Kerr, 2001).

  • Stair climbing can be accumulated across the course of the day, making a significant contribution to 30 minutes of daily physical activity (Kerr, 2001).

  • Stair climbing programs typically result in a 6-15% increase in use of stairs.

  • A significantly lower risk of mortality is indicated in studies where participants climbed more than 55 flights per week. (Paffenbarger et al. 1993).

  • Stair climbing requires about 8-11kcal of energy per minute, which is high compared to other physical activities (Edwards, 1983).

  • Active stair climbers are more fit and have a higher aerobic capacity (Ilmarinen et al, 1978).

  • Even two flights of stairs climbed per day can lead to 2.7 kg weight loss over one year (Brownell, Stunkard, and ALbaum, 1980).

  • There is a strong association between stair climbing and bone density, in post-menopausal women (Coupland et al. 1999).

  • Stair climbing programs can improve the amount of 'good cholesterol' in the blood - HDL concentrations (Wallace and Neill, 2000).

  • Stair climbing increases leg power and may be an important priority in reducing the risk of injury from falls in the elderly (Allied Dunbar Survey, 1992).

  • Because stair climbing rates are currently very low, increasing population levels of stair climbing could lead to substantial public health benefits (Kerr, 2001).

  • Because stair climbing is an activity with which we are all familiar, participants have a high level of confidence in their ability to participate in the activity (Kerr, 2001).