Why You Walk on the Stairs, According to an MD

My first three New York City apartments were sixth-floor walk-ups. My roommate and I used to joke that we were training to climb Mount Everest, but really. hundreds of Every time we worked our way up those endless steps, we were lost by the time we hit the second level. It didn’t make sense: we were climbing at least once a day, every day, but it never got easier.

According to one cardiologist, if you’re also short of breath when you reach the top of your steps, it has nothing to do with how “in shape” you actually are.

“The medical term for ‘winded’ is dyspnea,” says Satjit Bhusri, M.D., cardiologist and founder of Upper East Side Cardiology. This occurs when your heart “works in overdrive” when you exert your muscles in strenuous activities, such as flying up a flight of stairs, he adds. Walking.” Your muscles are demanding more oxygen and your heart is trying to keep up with that demand. The end result is cardiac output, which is basically the amount of energy your heart is delivering to the body,” he says. Your body works to balance its cardiac output by doing things like increasing your heart rate or forcing you to breathe faster, which explains why Your heart is beating.

According to health and performance coach Cristian Plasencia, CPT, CSCS, CEO of Sustain Athlete, there are a few different reasons why this can happen. “Maybe you’re not eating enough and you’re lacking nutrition, maybe you’ve had a tough training cycle, or maybe your heart is struggling to pump more blood and oxygen around your body because you’re putting more demands on your body. system by going up the stairs.”

In other words, if you don’t include stair climbing in your daily workout, you’ll lose it by the time you reach the fourth floor.

If you want to make those climbs easier, Plasencia recommends starting with low-intensity walks or hikes and focusing on building your strength in the lower extremities. “Breathing through your nose during low-intensity activity can help you keep your heart rate relatively low and help your body become more efficient at breathing and using oxygen,” he says. Start with 30 minutes, then work up to 75, and you’ll see the effects on your breath when it’s time to climb the stairs… which will feel like a pinch after 75 minutes of hiking uphill (and proper fueling and rest, of course).

If you want to track how many floors you’ve actually climbed in a day, grab an Apple Watch:

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