Thursday, September 11, 2014

Take the stairs

You know those articles that talk about making healthy living a habit, part of everyday, and one of the tips for doing this is taking the stairs? Well taking the stairs sucks. I'm currently participating in a stair climbing competition at work, and it is wiping me out!

The whole point of the stair challenge is to encourage healthy choices but has turned into a full blown competition with people (myself included) running up to the 15th floor just to get some extra points. I'm glad the weather is finally cooling off or folks would be getting unprofessionally sweaty.

My legs have definitely been feeling all the extra stairs! At first I was kind of embarrassed by this- I mean, I generally think of myself as "fit" so why are some stairs getting me sore and winded? So I read up on the benefits of taking the stairs, especially for runners:
  • Stairs are steeper than hills- typically about 65% incline (!!). To compare, Ramsey Hill in St. Paul is 18% incline at its steepest. This is why your heart rate increases so quickly walking up stairs, and in turn, your VO2 max can improve!
  • When you walk up stairs, you are balancing on one leg (briefly) which makes you use stabilizing muscles that aren't as frequently fired during a regular run. 
  • Walking up stairs usually includes higher knee lift, which stretches out hamstrings and may help extend stride length.    

So far we are finishing up week 2 of the challenge, with two remaining. I think my team will step up to the challenge (hahahaha) but there is plenty of competition. In any case, I hope my running benefits!

(but if I don't post for another few months, please someone come check one of the stairwells as I may have collapsed there...)

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