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In a city with over 600 publicly accessible stairways, getting in a stair climb workout is a fantastic option. (Image: Rebecca Mongrain/Seattle Refined)

Stair Climbing doesn't have to be scary

Did any of the rest of you see the coverage of this past weekend's Big Climb and think.....OH MY GOODNESS THOSE CRAZY PEOPLE?!

As the temperatures start to rise and more sunny days begin showing up with some regularity, exercising outside becomes a nicer reality. In a city with over 600 publicly accessible stairways, getting in a stair climb workout is a fantastic option. You are sure to find a good set of stairs in any Seattle neighborhood with some more good cardio effects.

The benefits to a stair climbing workout are vast. It’s a great way to work in a HiiT workout by raising your heart rate as you climb the stairs and then allows your heart rate to come down as you descend the stairs. It also works to strengthen not only your glutes, quads and hamstrings but when done correctly increases your core stability and strength.

According to StepJockey , climbing just eight flights of stairs a day can lower your early mortality risk by 33% and seven minutes of stair climbing a day can reduce your risk of a heart attack by half.

Adding stair climbing to your regular workout can be a great way to get a highly efficient workout done in a short time. I reached out to Steve Waterbury, a coach with Sync Fitness for some tips on stair climbing.

“My top tip for people heading out to climb stairs aside from warming up/stretching out is to stand all the way up on every step they take.” said Steve. “Many jobs these days are seated with our hips in flexion. Extend all the way through your hip with every step.”

Steve also shared his ideas for changing up stair climbing by adding planks at the top of stairs or changing how you go up the staircase.

“Skipping steps will increase the strength difficulty,” he said. “You can also wear a weighted vest or backpack or carry weight over one shoulder. Adding in a plank at the top of the stairs, while the heart rate is increased, will add a little spice to your routine as well. Going up the stairs sideways or sideways while crossing over legs will add a lateral component to target different parts of your hips.”

Steve also reminded us to get out and have fun while stair climbing. “Use your city as a playground,” he added.

Want to find one of Seattle’s over 600 stairways? Check out the book, “Seattle Stairway Walks” or search the website, Seattle Stairway Walks. Seattle Stairway Walks authors, Jake & Cathy Jaramillo sometimes offer guided tours for the true stairway enthusiast.