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My office is at the 9th floor. While everyone uses the elevator, I thought of using the stars instead.

Is it a healthy choice to climb up 9 storeys everyday with the following conditions?

  • Each floor is around 4.5 m tall (~15 ft)
  • I carry a backpack of around 7 kg (~15 lbs)
  • Only once in the morning

With the following assumptions:

  • Average healthy male
  • No history of bone injuries or breathing difficulties

Is this good for health or would it deteriorate the bones in the long term?

Is there any study stating walking upstairs can lead to bone/cartilage deterioration for an average person?

  • People do far more laborious exercising daily. In fact, we go to a gym and seek it out. All physical exercise deteriorates bone health to a certain degree, but then we eat and rest to allow the body to repair and recover. Are you having any issues with the stair climb? Pain? Exhaustion? I'm not sure what the context of this question is. – Alec Feb 1 at 12:31
  • @Alec, I do not feel significant pain or exhaustion after the exercise. Only that a few are concerned that it might be adversely affecting my bones in the long run. If you have data to support or against the claim, please answer with adequate detail. It would be of great help for me. – Ébe Isaac Feb 1 at 12:34
  • Health doesn't work like that. You can live a very unhealthy lifestyle and still climb up the stairs. You can be healthy and not do that. It can hurt you even depending on many, many conditions. Go about this another way. What do you promise yourself from walking up the stairs? What are your goals? Do you have any reason to worry about your bones? Do you feel pain afterwards? – Raditz_35 Feb 1 at 12:41
  • I'm not sure where to start finding sources for this. I mean, look at anyone who goes to the gym and works out for an hour and half. They all perform much more intensive workouts than this. A lot of gyms even have stair machines, because it's such a good exercise. But that doesn't mean that simply walking up stairs is going to give you a noticeable health benefit. Maintaining a healthy body requires a bit more effort than that. – Alec Feb 1 at 12:42
  • I agree, @Alec, the question is not that doing this is enough, but would there be any long term detrimental effects because of it. I do mild bodyweight exercises and lift up to 10 kg dumbbells and no one complains. But this seems to be of topic among my family. I couldn’t find any concrete data for this exact claim other than “walking upstairs is good for you” I clearly want to know how much is too much. – Ébe Isaac Feb 1 at 12:49
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Yes, it is considered healthy.

According to this study, even taking a few dozens of steps will improve your fitness, at least for men.

Furthermore, according to this study, several minutes of stair climbing will improve your health even more: "We know that sprint interval training works, but we were a bit surprised to see that the stair snacking approach was also effective," says Jonathan Little, assistant professor at UBC's Okanagan campus and study co-author. "Vigorously climbing a few flights of stairs on your coffee or bathroom break during the day seems to be enough to boost fitness in people who are otherwise sedentary."

And finally, as a result of the daily stair climbing you'll be able to climb more and more stairs. Therefore, you would perform better in a stair climbing test, which is the ultimate health test according to this article.

As far as for cartilage damage, if you aren't heavily overweight or suffering from arthritis or osteoporosis, you don't have to fear anything. People who get these kind of damages are often too heavy or overtraining a lot. In fact, climbing stairs or hills is actually even healthier than ground-level running for all your joints and cartilage, because the training effect per step is much higher and you are using more energy compared to running at ground-level. That's why experienced jogger like to climb hills, it's much less stress on your joints, combined with an increased training effect (although I'd suggest you to walk downwards, not running...yet here are some tips to run downhill better).

Note that it may look different if you'd be running up these 9 storeys, because in that case the risk of injuries might be increased, at least if you are not a well trained athlete.

As a final conclusion, I'd suggest to you walking up the stairs but not down in order to be on the safe side.

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