Battle of the Stairs

by MPK | November 24th, 2010 | Cardio

I workout six days a week, which makes exercise a crucial part of my life.  However, as much as I enjoy starting my day with a workout, I always am trying to keep it interesting for my mind and challenging for my muscles.  One strategy that I have found to help both interest and challenge is never doing the same workout twice in one week.

For my cardio workouts I alternate between running, using a stairclimber, and running stairs.  As a person who despises cold (and lives in New England), running outdoors becomes painful by mid-fall, which leaves me alternating between only two cardio activities.  However, as I have my schedule set to only two days of cardio and four days of strength training, it simply means that each activity is utilized once per week.

Based purely on my own observations (without researching scientific data),  I have found advantages to each:

  • Time– Running the stairs is a quicker workout, about 8 minutes per set.  With two sets of 35 flights, my workout is done in 16 minutes.
  • Multi-tasking– Using the stairclimber takes a little longer to get the same intensity, about 25-30 minutes.  However, with more time and no need to keep track of the number of flights, I am able to do some thinking about work, life, etc. while climbing.
  • Noise– Obviously, running a flight of stairs is a little louder than using a stairclimber in the basement.  Typically, it doesn’t matter, as none of the regularly used bedroom are near the stairs.  However, when we have houseguests, that bedroom is near the stairs.  The sound of me pounding up and down the stairs at 6:30 probably isn’t the best way to wake my guests.
  • Intensity– I find it easier to keep stair running an intense workout.  I never let myself climb the stairs at anything less than a hearty jog.  However, sometimes on the stairclimber, I find that my heart rate has decreased, and I need to pick up the pace.

The combination of these two cardio workouts seems to work in my weekly schedule.  I don’t feel bored with the same old workout because it’s only a once a week occurrence.  Both provide me with a solid heartbeat raising workout.  I find both meet my needs in different ways, and thus I keep two and alternate.

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