How to burn calories, lose fat and reduce your cholesterol without leaving your home

Did you know you have one of the best pieces of gym equipment available in your own home?

It can help you to burn more calories than walking, running, swimming and cycling.

It can improve your heart health, muscle strength and bone density; it can even help to lower cholesterol.

In fact, if you use it at least 5 times a day it can help reduce your risk of stroke, blood clots and heart attacks by as much as 20 per cent.

And it’s available free of charge 24/7.

What is this miracle kit? It’s the stairs!

Stair climbing just has to be one of the simplest yet most effective exercises you can do at home (or anywhere you see the stairs).

Did you know?

A 10 minute stair-climbing session burns around 140 calories and interestingly, research(1) found that although you burn more calories going up stairs, you can burn more abdominal fat by going down stairs so it’s a win win whether you’re going up or down.

Stair climbing engages your largest muscle groups – your glutes, quads and core – as you lift your body weight up against gravity. This is why you can burn around 400% more calories than walking at 3.22 km/h. Nothing beats the mood boosting effects of a walk outdoors but when you haven’t got the time, or the weather’s bad, this is a great substitute.

If you’ve ever tried chatting to someone as you walk upstairs you’ll know how quickly it affects your heart and breathing rates and your conversation becomes harder. If you have several flights of stairs available – say in an office, high rise apartment or a multi storey car park – you can do a really impactful 10 minute workout to really get the blood pumping.

It’s also really great as you can adapt this to suit your energy levels by starting off slowly then gradually progressing to make it a higher intensity workout.

Your stair workout

  • Start by going up and down stairs for 2 minutes at home or work (or whatever feels do-able for you).
  • Each day add in another flight of stairs or another 30 seconds and see how you respond. You’ll notice your heart rate rise and should be breathing harder but not breathless.
  • As you get fitter you’ll be able to keep going for longer, or climb more quickly.
  • Work up gradually to ten minutes at a brisk pace.
  • If you’re ready for an extra challenge, add in a weighted backpack.
  • If you’re doing an extreme stair-climbing workout then remember to stretch out your calf muscles afterwards*

Stair climbing is easier on the joints than jogging and will really build up strength in the muscles around the knees and hips. This in turn means you’ll be more able (and motivated) to do other things more easily such as hill walking or try high intensity intermittent training (HIIT) for example.

Top Tips

  • Whenever you see stairs – at the train station, shopping mall or office – use them. Literally every step counts.
  • Avoid using escalators and lifts whenever you can.
  • When you’re at home break up the working day or time you spend sitting by simply going up and downstairs a few times every hour.
  • If you have joint problems or any health conditions, take professional advice from a suitably qualified instructor or medical professional before embarking on a new fitness regime.


Calf stretch
*Stand on the bottom step and hold onto a handrail for balance. Slowly lower your heels down a little lower than the step so you feel a gentle stretch in the calf muscles and down into the back of the heel. Hold for up to 30 seconds then release.

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