Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Cardio UP: How many steps should you climb daily to cut heart disease risk by 20%?

Stair-climbing cardio can help reduce incidence of coronary artery disease, stroke, which are leading causes of morbidity, mortality worldwide

By
Web Desk
People wearing protective face masks climb the stairs as they visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, on June 25, 2020. —Reuters/file
People wearing protective face masks climb the stairs as they visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, on June 25, 2020. —Reuters/file

A groundbreaking study from Tulane University challenges the popular notion of walking 10,000 steps a day, revealing that climbing a modest 50 steps daily can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

Published in Atherosclerosis, the research suggests that ascending more than five flights of stairs on a daily basis could lead to a remarkable 20% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), coronary artery disease, and stroke stand as leading global causes of morbidity and mortality. 

The study, drawing insights from extensive data analysis using UK Biobank data from 450,000 adults, calculates participants' susceptibility to cardiovascular disease based on various factors. 

This includes family history, established risk factors, genetic risk factors, and lifestyle habits, with a median follow-up time of 12.5 years.

Co-corresponding author Dr Lu Qi, HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and professor at Tulane University, emphasised the efficiency of short bursts of high-intensity stair climbing as a time-effective way to enhance cardiorespiratory fitness and improve lipid profiles. 

He pointed out the significance of this exercise, especially for individuals unable to meet current physical activity recommendations.

The study found that daily stair climbing significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly in individuals less susceptible to such conditions. 

Dr Qi highlighted the potential of stair climbing as a primary preventive measure for ASCVD in the general population, underscoring the low-cost and accessible nature of stairs for incorporating exercise into daily routines.

“This study provides novel evidence for the protective effects of stair climbing on the risk of ASCVD, particularly for individuals with multiple ASCVD risk factors,” said Dr. Qi. 

The research, funded by the National Key R&D Program of China, sheds light on the transformative impact of a simple daily activity on heart health.