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Evaluating the effects of a low volume stairclimbing programme on measures of health-related fitness in sedentary office workers

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  • Sports Medicine
  • Physiology
  • Medicine


Despite its obvious advantages, few studies have examined health outcomes of regular stariclimbing. In this study, we investigated the training effects of eight weeks of stairclimbing on recognised measures of health-related fitness in an occupational setting. Forty-five public sector employees (22 male, 23 female) aged 42.3 ± 9.0 years were randomly assigned to control (n = 16) or stairclimbing (n = 29) groups. Stairclimbing training began with 1 bout 5d·wk-1 in week 1, increasing by one climb per day every two weeks until week 5, where a maintenance level of 3 climbs per day was reached. Participants climbed on staircases located within an 8 storey office block, consisting of 145 steps. The prescribed exercise intensity involved climbing the 8 flights of stairs at a rate of 75 steps·min-1. All participants agreed not to change their diet or lifestyle over the experimental period. Relative to controls, the stairclimbing group showed a significant increase of 9.4% in predicted VO2max (p < 0. 05). No significant changes in blood pressure, blood lipid concentrations or body composition were noted. These findings provide evidence that stairclimbing can enhance an important component of health-related fitness, namely cardiovascular fitness. Given that such improvement resulted from less than 30 minutes per week of moderate exercise, stairclimbing in the workplace should be promoted as a health-enhancing physical activity.

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