Further Info for Skyscraper Stairway Climbers

The stairful entity called The Shard. Photo via Wikipedia.

The stairful entity called The Shard. Photo via Wikipedia.

Upper floor residents of skyscrapers, at least those upper floor residents who habitually climb stairs rather than ride elevators to their homes, can find useful information in this new study:

The Energy Expenditure of Stair Climbing One Step and Two Steps at a Time: Estimations from Measures of Heart,” Lewis G. Halsey, David A. R. Watkins, Brendan M. Duggan, PLoS ONE 7(12), December 12, 2012, e51213. The authors, at the University of Roehampton in London and at the University of Edinburgh, report:

“Stairway climbing provides a ubiquitous and inconspicuous method of burning calories. While typically two strategies are employed for climbing stairs, climbing one stair step per stride or two steps per stride, research to date has not clarified if there are any differences in energy expenditure between them. Fourteen participants took part in two stair climbing trials whereby measures of heart rate were used to estimate energy expenditure during stairway ascent at speeds chosen by the participants. The relationship between rate of oxygen consumption and heart rate was calibrated for each participant using an inclined treadmill. The trials involved climbing up and down a 14.05 m high stairway, either ascending one step per stride or ascending two stair steps per stride…. The present study findings indicate [among other findings, that] two step climbing invokes a higher rate of energy expenditure; however, one step climbing is energetically more expensive in total over the entirety of a stairway. Therefore to expend the maximum number of calories when climbing a set of stairs the single-step strategy is better.”

(Thanks to investigator Owen Bidder for bringing this to our attention.)

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