Stair Climbers: Every step you take

Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:01am EST
 
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Pity the poor stepper.

While gym lines form for treadmills, elliptical trainers and stationary bicycles, the stair climbing machine is all too often the neglected wallflower of the cardio room.

Maybe that's because whether you call it a stepper, stair climber or stair mill, it evokes the drudgery of Sisyphus, the character in Greek mythology condemned to push a boulder uphill for eternity.

But experts say if you master the stairs, you'll reap dividends in tight abs, butt and thighs.

"It's the intensity," said Kerri O'Brien of Life Fitness, which designs and manufactures exercise equipment. "There's a vertical component. You're going to be working harder because you're going against gravity," she explained.

"Also you'll have isolated muscle soreness because you're using muscles you're not used to using," O'Brien, an exercise physiologist, added.

But if done regularly, O'Brien promises it will become more enjoyable. It is also a great workout for the muscles that make up the buttocks.

Staircases have been around almost from the beginnings of civilization. In 2004, archaeologists found a stair case in Austria believed to be at least 7,000 years old.   Continued...