March 17

One Super Simple Trick to (Literally) Improving Your Fitness on The Go

What if we told you that you don’t have to set foot in a gym to get fit? You don’t have to run for it, climb for it, or hike for it. Okay, maybe a little climbing, but you’ll see what we mean.

In any case, if you’re about to turn the dial – or in the Internet universe, read some other article instead – because you’re thinking, “I don’t got time for that,” don’t! YOU DO.


Simple is always a bonus. Whether it’s a healthy, 5-ingredient meal or getting your inbox to zero, we’re of the belief system that less is more. When it comes to getting fit, I think you probably agree!

Hitting the gym, the trail or the studio everyday is a chore for some. Instead, get your sweat on literally on the go.

Always take the stairs


If you’re short on time today, you can stop here. Basically, taking the stairs every day happens to have huge benefits for fitness levels. You can do this at home, you can do it on your outdoor commute, you can practice in the subway or you can do it on your lunch break.

You could pay for a gym membership if it’s two stories just to get your workout in quickly (we wouldn’t recommend this financially, though).

The moral of the story is that everyone – even the busiest bees – can do this. You don’t not have time, especially if you’re already taking the stairs at least once a day. It’s high-intensity interval training on the go, otherwise known as HIIT.

Stair climbing might also be classified as SIT, not to be confused with the action of sitting on the stairs. You want to stay upright. SIT stands for sprint interval training.

I know, I know; we said you didn’t have to run, but a little sprinting goes a long way if you’re up for the challenge.

Over time, your body will become more efficient at using the muscle fibres required to complete these ‘sprints.’ With regular training, your body will adjust from anaerobic activity to aerobic activity, which proves beneficial to the heart and has benefits that steady state cardio i.e. walking for 45 minutes per day simply doesn’t.

Besides, one of the convincing factors in this research is the notion that fitness doesn’t mean you need extra time to spare.

The benefits of sprint interval training


The major benefit of stair climbing, in particular, is its ability to improve cardiorespiratory health. This means your heart and lungs are getting along a little better, and both functioning optimally during intense energy exertion.

Heart health is a huge component of longevity and overall well-being.

This type of training positively impacts insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial health. The root of all disease is in the cells, after all. Subsequently, it can actually reduce the risk of dying from all disease by around 13%. There are other notable benefits, too.

  • This study demonstrates the positive effects of doing six sessions of SIT per week for two weeks. These workouts lasted around fifteen minutes. The results include increased endurance capacity by 100% a.k.a. it doubled and muscle oxidative potential gains and VO2 max or the capacity for the heart, lungs and muscles to use oxygen.
  • A study done at McMaster University confirms stair climbing’s claim to heart health fame; 30 minutes of activity per week proved beneficial to the participants’ fitness levels, studied using stair climbing for 60 second intervals.
  • This research shows more convincing heart-related benefits with stair-climbing showing raises of “good cholesterol,” and a decrease in “bad” cholesterol.

The how-to is a simple prescription: take the stairs. If you’re using the elevator, swap it out for a little leg burn. If you have some time to spare on your lunch break, do a couple quick laps up and down.

If you’re channel surfing, get up during commercials to sprint up the stairs of your home. It doesn’t need to be much more complicated than that when it comes to increasing endurance and keeping your heart happy.

Twenty seconds of stair climbing three times per day, just three times per week, might be the answer to genuinely improving fitness and health on the go.

Book recommendation: The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That’s Smarter, Faster, Shorter from Martin Gibala

What do you think? We hope this article inspires you to take the high road just a little more often.


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