Running Stairs With a Goal – The Empire State Building.

Walking stairs in a series of repeats helps increase cardiovascular fitness.

An article, Great Workout, Forget the View published in the February 18th edition of the New York Times Fitness and Nutrition section reports how Sheri Harkness shed a final 40 pounds by including stair workouts and modifying her diet to reduce calorific intake. Cedric Bryant, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise endorsed the health benefits by adding that stair climbing and running “will be a bit more challenging and therefore allow you to burn more calories for that same amount of time.” Stair climbing and running, although very efficient at burning calories, requires a good degree of fitness.

Anything that requires a lot of work burns more calories. The key is to start out gradually. Work from fewer flights of stairs to more flights of stairs. Factor in the steepness too. Steeper stairs require more effort to climb. Include active recovery breaks like stretching every couple of flights or including crunches to catch your breath at various points during a workout.

While reading the article, bear in mind how and where Harkness started her new regimen two years ago. The article points out, Harkness started out by walking on a treadmill at just 3.1 miles per hour in 2007 to running up the Empire State Building in 23:10 last week. She did not do that overnight. Her story should serve as an inspiration to get fit, reach your goals and provide a way of working out when it’s raining.

Sheri Harkness does provide evidence that goals are achievable, even if the goal is to reach the top of a nearby hill in your neighborhood without getting out of breath.