By Meredith Nelson for Island Eye News
It is hard for some to believe. I am an avid runner, cyclist, gym owner, personal trainer … and asthmatic? Many people don’t realize that I grew up suffering from asthma. Although it is not nearly as severe anymore, I still suffer from the occasional asthma attack. Fortunately, as a child I participated in a program offered by the American Lung Association for children with asthma. The program helped me recognize the initial signs of an attack, as well as how to manage attacks with medication and certain breathing techniques.
Fast-forward many years later, and I now have a chance to repay the American Lung Association for improving my quality of life. Beginning with the inaugural climb in 2010, I have competed in the ALA’s North Charleston Fight For Air Stairclimb at the North Charleston Coliseum every year (with the exception of one year due to a disc injury). Ever since that first climb, PrimeTime Fitness has put together a team to compete in the event and raise money for the ALA.
Training every year for the Fight For Air Climb, I have come to appreciate the benefits of running stairs. Much more taxing than just running, and even harder than running hills, stair climbing builds strength and power without the impact. Yet climbing stairs is convenient and takes about half as much time to get the same benefits. Not to mention that just about anyone can do it. The youngest participant in the climb last year was 7 years old and the oldest were two gentlemen 73 years young.
Since climbing stairs is low-impact, it is actually great for those with hip and/or knee issues. Just be careful on the descents. Take the elevator, or go down at an angle, reducing impact.
Here are some interesting “Stair Fitness Facts,” courtesy of the American Lung Association:
• Stair climbing burns about twice as many calories as any other sport or activity.
• Because it is a grueling sport, stair climbing requires less time to do the same intensity of a workout. For example, if you run for 30 minutes, the same workout intensity could be achieved with 15 minutes of stair climbing.
• Stair climbing can be a total body workout, especially when you pull your body up using the handrails.
• Want to show off an amazing pair of legs on the beach this summer? Stair climbing builds muscle mass in the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. Bam.
• Running stairs uses all energy systems, and is therefore both an aerobic and anaerobic sport. It requires endurance, sprints and muscular strength.
• Stair climbing is excellent for cross-training. Many athletes find stair climbing to be beneficial as part of their training.
• If done regularly, stair climbing increases heart and lung function, therefore improving your overall endurance.
Now for a few fun facts about stair climbing:
• You will use 9.6 times more energy climbing stairs than you do while sitting down.
• Stair climbing is actually an international sport and has a complete global schedule with the goal of becoming an Olympic sport. Check out towerrunning.com.
The PrimeTime team has their sights set on a repeat victory in this year’s event on July 23. We would love to win the title of not only the fastest team, but also the most money raised. You can help.
Donate to our team, sponsor the event, or even name a flight. For more information on how you can help the PrimeTime team bring home another trophy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. And know that your funds go a long way in helping people like me overcome some kind of lung disease, quit smoking, or manage their disease.
Meredith Nelson, M.Ed, is the owner of PrimeTime Fitness, Inc, in Mt. Pleasant. Since 2000, PrimeTime Fitness has catered to the mature exerciser and offers personal and small group training, indoor cycling, yoga, golf fitness training, monthly gym membership, and more. Meredith can be reached with your fitness questions at 843-883-0101, or Meredith@primetimefit.net.