There’s something particularly daunting about climbing the stairs. Even if you hit the gym every day, a quick stair climb might leave you feeling winded. So, it’s not too surprising that stair climbing has proven to be a reliable test for your risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. These two conditions are leading causes of death around the world, and they share many overlapping risk factors. In one recently published study, it was shown that exercise is one of the more reliable predictors for the risk of dying from heart disease or cancer.
What the Research Says
In the most basic terms, the study showed that having the functional capacity to briskly climb four flights of stairs without stopping indicates that you have a significantly lower risk of dying from cancer or cardiovascular disease. The study included about 12,000 participants and found that—accounting for other factors—METs or metabolic equivalents were independently associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer or cardiac disease. To be more exact, achieving 10 METs was associated with a three-fold lower rate of death from cancer and cardiac disease in the study participants.
How You Can Test Yourself
The research took place with high-end treadmills and functional capacity measurements, but it’s not hard to adapt the test for yourself. All you need to do is climb 4 flights of stairs without stopping in about 44 – 55 seconds. However, before you start charging up the stairs, think about your current level of fitness and avoid overstraining for the sake of science. A more reliable way to measure your fitness if you aren’t sure is by visiting your doctor for a physical.
If you’re unsure about your physical health or you know your exercise routine could use some work, check in with MeMD for a fast, convenient medical visit. We provide medical care day or night, all for a flat, per-visit rate.