This Simple Habit Could Lengthen Your Life — and Ward off Heart Disease

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Man making the heart symbol with his hands
Antonio Guillem /

A simple habit could lengthen your life and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Climbing stairs is associated with these benefits, according to new research unveiled recently at ESC Preventive Cardiology 2024, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Researchers wanted to determine whether climbing stairs affects the risk of premature death or cardiovascular disease.

They analyzed data on nearly a half-million participants from nine prior studies and concluded that compared to not using stairs, climbing stairs is associated with a:

  • 24% lower risk of dying from any cause
  • 39% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease

Climbing stairs is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease, including heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

In a summary of the findings, the study’s author — Dr. Sophie Paddock of the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust — says that even “brief bursts of physical activity” can boost overall health:

“Based on these results, we would encourage people to incorporate stair climbing into their day-to-day lives. Our study suggested that the more stairs climbed, the greater the benefits — but this needs to be confirmed. So, whether at work, home, or elsewhere, take the stairs.”

The researchers note that cardiovascular disease is largely preventable, and that regular exercise is one of the best ways to maintain heart health.

The data used in the meta-analysis focused on both healthy participants and those with a history of heart attack or peripheral arterial disease. These participants were between the ages of 35 and 84.

So, it appears the benefits of climbing stairs extend to a wide swath of the population.

For more on boosting your health, check out “This Simple Exercise Lowers Blood Pressure the Most.”

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