Climbing more than 50 stairs a day reduces risk of heart disease by 20% (study)

Climbing more than five floors per day or around 50 stairs could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20% according to a new study from Tulane University in Louisiana (United States), published on September 28, 2023 in the journal Atherosclerosis (DOI: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2023.117300).

Leading cause of death worldwide

According to’WHO, cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis (excess cholesterol), coronary heart diseases such as myocardial infarction and strokes constitute the main causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, with approximately 17.9 million deaths each year. Furthermore, more than 4 out of 5 deaths resulting from cardiovascular disease are linked to heart attacks (myocardial infarction) and strokes, and a third of these deaths occur prematurely in people under the age of 70.

Major behavioral risk factors for heart disease and stroke include poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, and harmful alcohol use. These risk factors can manifest as high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, overweight and obesity.

Beneficial effects of stair climbing

Short sets of high-intensity stair climbs are an effective way to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and lipid profile, particularly in people who cannot meet current physical activity recommendations, this study suggests. These findings highlight the potential benefits of stair climbing as a primary prevention measure for cardiovascular disease in the general population.

Effective and inexpensive way

Using data from the UK Biobank Collected from 450,000 adults, the study calculated participants’ level of cardiovascular disease risk based on family history, established risk factors and genetic risk factors, and asked participants about their eating habits. life and the frequency with which they climbed the stairs. The median duration of follow-up was 12.5 years.

The study found that climbing more stairs per day particularly reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease in people at lower risk. However, Dr Qi said the increased risk of heart disease in the most susceptible people could be “effectively offset” by climbing stairs daily.

Dr. Qi emphasized that the stairs are accessible to the public and provide an inexpensive and accessible way to integrate physical exercise into daily habits.

References & Sources:
– Atherosclerosis Review (DOI: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2023.117300)
– Press release in English from the study (via

Persons responsible and involved in the writing of this file:
Seheno Harinjato (editor at, responsible for infographics).

Date of last file update:

Photo credits :, Adobe Stock, © 2023 Pixabay

Infographic credit:
Pharmanetis Sàrl (

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