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Studies Show Taking the Stairs Really Does Improve Physical Health

DES MOINES, Iowa – A recent report shows that people who walk up four flights of stairs in under a minute are in good physical shape.

According to the European Society of Cardiology, the findings conclude that the importance of physical activity is related to living a longer life.

January 9th is “National Take the Stairs Day.”

At Mercy Cardiac Rehab, patients are recovering from heart related injuries or surgeries. Exercising Specialist Sarah Swalla said she tells her patients to use the stairs.

“We tell patients to get in a good 30 minutes of exercise or more most days of the week in order for their heart that has been damaged to get stronger,” Swalla said.

Swalla said taking the stairs uses every muscle in the body.

“It has been proven that even taking two flights of stairs a day for an obese person can actually help them lose 12 pounds a year,” Swalla said.

Eighty-year-old Marlys Seibert is recovering from open heart surgery. Seibert said her surgery hasn’t slowed her everyday routine down.

“We’ve been walking since I’ve been home from the hospital, trying to walk everyday. We have a lot of steps in our home, so I’ve been doing steps at least once a day,” Seibert said.

The cardiac rehab facility uses a heart monitor on patients to track their heart beat while working out.

“I did a little bit on the treadmill and a little bit on the stationary bike and it's comfortable, because you’re monitored the whole time,” Siebert said.

The facility aims to find the perfect workout for people recovering from heart injury. People will use various exercise machines for 40 minutes.

Seibert said she her living conditions keeps her using the stairs each day. “I appreciate that I have had to do that, because I think it keeps me able to do it.”

The 2018 Physical Activities Guidelines for Americans also explains the benefits of using the stairs.

The study recommends children beginning at the age of three should begin having some form of physical activity each day. It helps develop and enhance growth.

American Lung Association Development Manager Heather Johnson said, “Taking the stairs is a great way to get more exercise. You don’t need a gym membership. You don’t need a ton of extra time. It’s just something you can do throughout your day to be healthier.”

The American Lung Association hosts Fight for Air Climb each year in downtown Des Moines. People climb 85 flights of stairs through four city buildings. The event takes place April 7th.

Suggestions to get more stairs in your daily routine include: taking the stairs at work and using the stairs inside a parking garage.

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