When it comes to full-body exercises that you can incorporate into your fitness regimen, stair climbing is a good option for many people. Not only will the physically demanding nature of this exercise improve your cardiovascular health, but you'll also notice stronger muscles — particularly in your legs and core. Repeatedly running up and down a set of stairs might never get dull for you, but if you're the type of person who needs to change his or her exercises regularly, this is a workout that has plenty of variations from which to choose. Here are some suggestions.
When you run up a set of stairs, you can run on each step or use longer strides to skip every second step as a way of increasing the challenge of this exercise. If you're keen on a variation that is even more challenging, try jumping from step to step. To do so, stand at the base of the stairs with your feet together. In one fluid, full-body motion, jump onto the first step, and then repeat the process until you're at the top of the stairs. If you need an extra challenge, try jumping up two steps at a time. The more rapidly you perform this exercise, the more it will improve your body's overall fitness.
Another way that you can add a new challenge to your stair climbing workout is to increase the amount of weight that you're carrying on your body. The simplest way to do this is to use body weights — either ankle weights, wrist weights, or a weighted vest. While you'll want to add just a small amount of weight to start with and then see how your body feels afterward, you'll likely immediately find this workout to be more challenging. The added weight works your entire body harder, which can have fitness benefits from head to toe.
A unique-looking variation on climbing the stairs is to bend over and have your hands touch each of the steps in front of you — much like how a dog might run up the stairs. While you might feel a little self-conscious doing this variation, you'll ideally be able to find a set of stairs where there aren't any onlookers. You'll find that this variation adds a new challenge to the exercise. You might feel more of a burn in your shoulders, for example, while your core will also get a solid workout. Don't be afraid to experiment with these and other variations to further increase the difficulty of this full-body exercise.
To learn more full-body exercises, contact a trainer.