Spring is in the air. No matter when you started your journey, if you are still sticking with it, Awesome Job! If you’re just starting out now, congratulations on the start of a healthier you! Getting outside to run the stairs can be a great change of pace.

Here are the 4 steps to spare your joints while getting the best results:

  1. Warm up: people skip this because it doesn’t feel important, but nothing is farther from the truth.  5-10min of a dynamic warm up will help you have a safer and more effective workout.  Nothing derails fitness like an injury.
  1. Train smart: for fat-loss, knee health and/or improved cardiovascular fitness continuously running up and down the steps is not the best choice.  This continuous work pace is inefficient for fat-loss and fitness, and running down the steps is very stressful on your knees (and feet).  Using the stairs for interval training will spare your joints and boost results.

Example: find a length of stairs you can sprint up in about 30sec. Walk down slowly, and catch your breath at the bottom. Try to repeat this at the 30sec pace for 10reps. If you push the intensity this will be plenty. When you start slowing down (like to 40sec), then you either need longer rest breaks or you’re body is done for today. To progress you can add reps (up to 15 or 20), cover more ground in the same 30sec, and/or take shorter breaks. 

  1. Focus on technique & breathing:  to run faster and safer focus on 3 things (a) pushing the ground away harder, (b) getting your knee and toe up, and (c) moving your arms faster.  The faster you move your arms, the faster you’re able to move your legs.  For breathing go in through the nose and out through the mouth at a steady pace.  While it feels like mouth panting gives you energy, the opposite is true – it’s actually an energy expensive (exhausting) way to breath.
  2. Cool down: going straight from this intense workout to sitting places unnecessary stress on your cardiovascular system.  This is because your heart needs the assistance of your leg muscles to get the extra blood from your legs to return “home.”  Sitting makes your leg muscles dormant and places your bodyweight your blood vessels making the return very stressful.  Cooling down is simple – just walk around for 5min or until your heart rate returns to near resting.

How you can use climbing stairs can help disabled first responders

One of our clients, Suzanne, leads our Team (True Respect) for the Annual Tunnel to Tower Climb in Charlotte. It’s April 28th this year, and the funds go to the Stephen Siler Foundation to support catastrophically wounded first responders. This is an awesome cause. It’s also a fun, yet doable fitness challenge. Suzanne would love for you to register and join the team (she organizes practice times on the weekend). If you join our team please select the 9am start time, and the 15-30 min completion option. 

 If you can join, then please help with the fundraising goal. Please pick one of the team members that has not yet reached their fundraising goal.  

From Suzanne: What started out 2 years ago as just a physical challenge for me personally has turned into a mission to bring more participants and attention to The Stephen Siller Foundation and the catastrophically wounded first responders it supports. In a city the size of Charlotte there are not 343 (the number of firefighters who perished on 9/11, one of whom was Stephen Siller) climbers registered and I want to see the day that there are at least that many participants!  https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/true-respect- 

 If you register you’ll need to put in start time and time to climb – use these choices please: 

What is your estimated climb time?: 15-30 minutes 

What is your preferred start time? : 9:00AM 

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