I have started doing running stairs in the building I live in. There are 26 floors. However the stairs are enclosed with only a fire exit as a door (no windows). And only the 26th (penthouse/amenities) floor is unlocked. The air is a bit stale/heavy(?) since the area is enclosed, does anyone believe that this might be a risky environment?

Note: When I was starting out, when I run out of breath during mid floors, I felt hard to catch my breath, and thought it might be the stale air, but lately I've been able to get better at it...

3 Answers 3


I doubt that this poses a problem.

As long as there is at least some exchange of air naturally occurring - doors don't close airtight under normal circumstances - there will be enough circulation. As you're running you're causing even more circulation, the heat from your body and the air you breath out will add to that; Of course not enough to cause a storm in the staircase, but enough to get the air moving. I doubt that lack of oxygen will ever cause serious problems.

What might be a problem is dust. Depending on how old or clean the environment is, what it is made of (old buildings might have asbestos), and how you breath under exhaustion (I often start to breath through my mouth), it could be problematic.
Another issue might be humidity, if the environment is too wet, it might encourage molds to grow, breathing their spores isn't really something you should do on a regular basis.

  • Hmm you brought out more interesting points/risks that's alot scarier than I thought... Specifically asbestos, which is something I'm not sure how to find out. All I know is the building was built around 2005 or so. I'm really paranoid about chemicals and stuff, I might consider looking for a better alternative than running in our condominium... Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 11:12
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    They stopped using asbestos well before 2000 for new construction. The other aspect of humidity would be simply a slick surface due to a thin layer of condensation on the steps--which poses the risk of slipping. If you don't have that condensation, the risk of mold is lower. Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 12:59
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestos#Discovery_of_toxicity use of Asbestos was phased out in 1989, and banned entirely by 2003. Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 13:01
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    just wanted to share, another risk related to what you mentioned, in our building, there are monthly scheduled pest control spraying, I make sure to always know the specific dates and avoid that date and the day after (residues?). Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 9:13

With all forms of fitness there are risks. I think you are ok to continue under the following conditions:

  1. You do not smell anything concerning like gas or have reason to believe there are harmful gases in the enclosed space.
  2. You do not believe your physical security is at risk in this area.
  3. You stop to recover when you reach your limit or if you in any way start to feel faint.

It would also be a good idea to find a partner to do this with you. You would then have the reassurance that there is another person there in case of emergency and it's great for morale and comradery.


In my staircase, I can definitely feel a temperature difference between bottom and top (5 laughable stories : P), but its definitely there (especially in summer), and as far as I know, its not good to train in strongly different temperatures. Perhaps hanging jacket/sweatshirt at floor 13 for when you go down, and leave it there when you go up.

Curious if you feel this difference as well : )

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