Masters of the Stairs

Up & Down Routine for Trim Trio

Co-workers, from left, Yolanda Hyatt, Tatiana Tolley and Georgia Waldon enjoy exercising at work

Every journey begins with a single step. For three NorthBay co-workers, that first step was taken in 2009 at the bottom of the stairs at NorthBay Medical Center. Two years later they’re climbing 16 flights of stairs every workday and reaping the health benefits of regular exercise.

“We refer to the stairs as our Stairmaster,” says Georgia Waldon, 63, of Suisun. Georgia and her medical records co-workers Tatiana Tolley and Yolanda Hyatt use each work break to leave their desks and climb eight flights of stairs. And, they take a 30-minute walk at lunch.

Studies confirm that accumulating short bouts of stair-climbing activity throughout the day can reduce the cardiovascular risk factors in previously sedentary women. Climbing stairs tones muscle and increases the heart rate. Walking up stairs works multiple muscle groups and forces you to breathe deeply, which sends more oxygen to your blood.

It was Tatiana who introduced the group to stair climbing. “I climbed the stairs at my previous jobs and it’s an exercise that fits into your break time and gives you a good workout,” says Tatiana, 42, of Walnut Creek. “We’ve all built up our endurance and we keep doing it because we like it, and it’s much more fun to exercise as a group.”

In addition to their daily exercise routine, they weigh themselves each Wednesday morning before work and report their results. “We don’t share our actual weight, but knowing what it is helps keep us all on track,” Georgia adds.

In addition to being an excellent aerobic exercise, climbing up stairs also helps to build lower body strength. It uses your body weight for resistance to work the large muscle groups, including hips, thighs, calves, hamstrings and glutes. Walking down the stairs works a different group of muscles, including your quadriceps (most of your thigh), and hip flexors.

“Stair climbing has helped me lose weight and gain strength in my legs,” says Yolanda Hyatt, of Suisun. “We have very sedentary jobs, sitting in front of a computer for 10-hour days. Getting up and exercising throughout the day helps me focus on my work. And, we motivate each other to get up and go.”

Nine Reasons to Take the Stairs

Climbing stairs on a daily basis has many health benefits.

  • Tones your muscles
  • Increases your heart rate
  • Burns twice as many calories as walking
  • Requires no special equipment
  • Is faster than riding the elevator
  • Builds the strength of your legs
  • Builds the strength of your lungs
  • Can help you exercise at work
  • Is a great way to reduce stress

Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program, including stair climbing.

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