Posted by Clarence V on September 01, 2008

Next time when you try to take the lift or escalator at work or shopping mall instead of the stairs, remember it could perk up your chances of dying prematurely by up to 15 per cent.

A latest study conducted by Swiss researchers has found that people use the stairs regularly have better fitness, less body fat, slim waistlines and lower blood pressure.

The study was presented at the European Society of Cardiologydefine in Munich, Germany.

Lead author of the study, Dr Philippe Meyer and his team from the University of Geneva conducted the study on 69 people, who were hospital employees at the university. The lifestyle of the participants before being involved in the study was stated as a sedentary lifestyle, which meant doing less than two hours of exercise/ sport per week and climbed fewer than 10 flights of stairs each day.

Before the study, the team took the measurements of participants' lung capacity, waist circumference, body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol level.

The subjects were asked by the researchers to take the stairs exclusively instead of the lift at work for a period of three months. On average, the number of floors they went up and down each day rose from five per day to 23.

Again at the end of the 12 weeks, the measurements were taken for their lung capacity, waist circumference, body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol level. The scientists found that the participants had better lung capacity, trimmer waist; drop in body fat and lower blood pressure and cholesterol level.

The authors say that when taken together, this equates to a 15 per cent reduction in the chances of dying prematurely from any cause.

Dr Meyer, said, "This suggests that stair climbing can have major public health implications."

He said that larger studies are needed to confirm the findings of the pilot study.

The consultant cardiologist at Bart's and The London NHS Trust, Prof. Adam Timmis, said, 'It's a small study but valuable because it provides a practical way for busy working people to increase their exercise capacity.”

Adding further Timmis said, “Although the amount of exercise appears small, the benefits were clear in improving physical fitness and reducing body fat and blood pressure.”

In Britain just fifty percent of the total population meets public health guidelines by doing at least half an hour of physical activity on 5 days or more each week. While an estimated one-third of Americans do no exercise at all. A previous research showed that a quarter of male and female take no exercise at all rising their chances of dying early.

Few benefits of walking up and down the stairs:

If you are concerned about calories, the answer is " take the stairs" as climbing stairs burns almost 7 times the number of calories expended standing on an elevator. In fact two minutes of stair climbing every day burns enough calories to eliminate 1 pound of weight gain every year.

Walking down the stairs also reduces the blood-sugar levels, which can help in dropping your risk for developing type 2 diabetesdefine. Climbing up the stairs is a good cardiovascular exercise but going both up and down stairs will help lower your LDL or bad cholesterol.

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