YEG Stairs – Our Top Outdoor Fitness Recommendation for Beginners or Elites

Spring has arrived, get outside and take the stairs!

As the snow begins to melt, the temperatures are no-longer at deep freeze levels, and
the days begin to get longer most of us get an urge to get outside and be more active. Some
people may want to shed the extra winter pounds or maybe re-attempt a failed New Year’s
resolution for improving our health (being more active, drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking,
eating better, etc.,). With this new-found motivation and pleasantness of being outside, hitting
the numerous staircases Edmonton has to offer is one of the best ways to optimize your
cardiovascular fitness.

Running Edmonton river valley stairs

Our top 5 reasons why:

  1. It’s free and accessible: A common barrier cited for physical fitness is the associated
    costs – purchasing new or replacing old equipment, memberships, lessons, etc.;
    however, besides needing comfortable clothing and a pair of running shoes, hitting a set
    of stairs around the River Valley or local trail system does not cost you anything. In
    addition, many fitness and sporting endeavours are not offered in the city or area you
    live in (due to lack of infrastructure, coaching, or programming) or are not available at a
    time you are free. However, you are likely to find a set of stairs nearby – either close to
    your home or work (or IN your work building!) and you are able to choose when you do
    them to fit your schedule. Early morning, lunch hour, or in the evening are all
    possibilities.
  2. Targets lower body strength & cardiovascular fitness: Whether you are walking,
    running or sprinting up staircases, your cardiovascular system will be challenged with an
    elevated heart rate (HR). The cardio difficulty will depend on your intensity (e.g. 60% of
    your maximum HR walking up versus 85% maximum HR if running up), the amount of
    rest you take between sets, and the duration of time you spend on the stairs. Stairs also
    demands leg strength and power to climb up. Your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and
    calves will all be required to work hard, especially if you decide to go up a steeper set or
    two at a time!
  3. Any fitness level can participate: the beauty of stairs is you can decide on the set of
    stairs you want to do (i.e. short, long, gradual, steep, etc.,), the number of sets, how
    quickly you perform each set (i.e. walk, jog, run, sprint, jump, etc.,), and how much you
    rest in-between sets.
  4. It is easy to measure progress: if you do not mind the monotony of running the same
    set or sets of stairs, over time you can easily measure your progress. You can track the
    number of sets completed, the average length of time it takes to complete each set, and
    the total running time. Seeing results is a great way to keep motivated and stay on track
    with your fitness goals.
  5. It can be social: Unlike running where you need to find someone of similar fitness, the
    stairs are easy to partner with anybody as you can each choose your own pace and just
    go for a set period of time. My family often goes and does stairs together: our toddler
    watches in her stroller, our son participates (often setting the pace for the first half!),
    and my partner and I each go one our own pace crossing paths on each set. We can
    encourage one another throughout the entire workout, talk in-between sets, and all
    finish feeling we each had a great workout at our own intensity for that day.
    Do not worry about wearing the ‘latest and greatest’ exercise clothing – just get into
    something you feel comfortable in, lace up your shoes, and find your favourite set of
    stairs!

Read more:

It’s Spring: Train Clients Outdoors for Extra Benefit

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