I have to start this post on stairs with a few questions:
Are you afraid of stairs and potential they have for causing a fall?
Do you look for an escalator or elevator before even considering using stairs to go up a level or two in a building?
Do you avoid stairs due to being out of breath after climbing just a few treads?
Just this morning I kept forgetting things in my office and needed to go up a down the stairs a few times just to get out of the house. As I was driving to my meeting I reflected on a few different ways I use my staircase to help me in my exercises and maintain my ability to go up and down with relative ease.
Using stairs for building upper body strength:
Push-ups while going up the stairs:
Starting from the bottom tread with your feet on the lower tread and your hands on an higher tread, just about under your chest, do a set of 10 push-ups. Try to keep your back straight a you do these. Go up a few steps and repeat. You should be able to do this 4 times as you continue up the stairs.
Total time: under 5 minutes.
Benefits: chest, upper back and arm strength; and a calf stretch
Add the option of lifting one leg off the stairs for an extra workout and stretch
Using stairs for building leg strength and balance:
If you have trouble with stairs I suggest you start slowly, taking one step at a time, using the handrail to balance yourself. Try not pulling yourself up with the rail, but using your leg to push up with. If you need end with both feet on one tread in between going to the next step. If you are out of breath, wait until your breathing evens out then take another step. You may want to only climb two or three then return to the floor level you started at. Remember: This is not a race to the top.
If you can climb easily, work your way up to taking two steps at a time, then to three. However: be very careful with your knees. It is easy to put too much stress on them with this method of climbing, especially if you try to do too much too soon.
When going down stairs, try to ease yourself down a step instead of ”dropping” down to the lower tread. This is similar to a “dip” using your support leg to bend at the knee and hold you as it lowers you down. Again, be careful not to put too much stress on your knees until you gain the strength and stability.
I will leave you with these as a start. Look for part 2 coming up in a few days.
Let me know what how you feel about these after you try them!