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Skip the elevator and take the stairs to reduce your risk of heart disease

by , 22 January 2013

15%! That’s how much you could cut your risk of premature death if you take the stairs and not the elevator. The reason? Because not only does light exercise like stair climbing lower your total body fat, it’s been found to lower your risk of dying early too…

About 33 people die as a result of a heart attack and about 60 people die because of a stroke in South Africa every day. So it’s no wonder that least year. The Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA) dubbed heart disease and stroke the number one killers in South Africa. 
 
But researchers from the University of Geneva have found a great way to cut your risk of dying prematurely as a result of heart diseases by 15%.
 
Cutting your risk of dying from heart disease by 15% is as easy as taking the stairs
 
Prior to the study, the 69 participants who took part reported getting less than two hours of exercise per week and walking less than ten flights of stairs each day. Then, for 12 weeks, they were asked to use the stairs rather than elevators or escalators whenever they had the choice.
 
At the end of the study, the researchers noted that the participants had not only lost weight and body fat; they also had better lung capacity and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Based on these positive changes, the researchers determined the study group had reduced their risk of dying prematurely by 15% from heart disease.
 
Here’s why…
 
Light exercise: Your secret weapon against heart disease
 
Essentially, your blood pressure is determined by two things:
 
1. The force your heart produces in your arteries when it pumps blood through your body; and 
2. The tension of your heart’s artery walls. 
 
When you have high blood pressure, it means the blood pushes against artery walls with too much pressure and can put strain on your arteries, causing them to harden or become clogged. This can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. 
 
Light exercise like stair climbing helps because “the cells lining our artery walls contain chemicals that determine the degree of tension of the arteries. Exercise training keeps these cells — called vascular endothelial cells — healthy. […] With less resistance in the arteries, your heart can pump more efficiently and blood flows more easily,” explains Dr Howard LeWine in an article on Intelihealth.com.
 
This just proves, once again, that exercise (regardless of much you can do) can help you get that much closer to good health so you can live longer and healthier. 
 
Author: Karin Iten
 
 

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