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Which is better going downstairs or walking?

Or does it make a difference? I try to take the stairs at least to the break room on 7 for my job on the 16th floor... sometime I make it all the way up to 16. I usually just take the elevator back down. Then I was thinking well heck it's at least add extra steps no different than walking to go back down so I've started going back down. When I started going down I didn't think it really affect me any different than walking but after going down 16 flights of stairs I can feel the front of my thighs start to tighten which I never notice in walking so I'm just curious is going down stairs better than walking or are they really about the same.

Tue. Sep 19, 4:57pm

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when you walk up your working against gravity, when you walk down the stairs gravity is helping by pulling your bodyweight down.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 5:28 PM

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In my opinion, walking is better. You can really get your heart pumping, especially on an incline. Also, going downstairs could be much harder on your knees.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 7:36 PM

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Well, as a physical therapist I'd say both are good. As the second poster said, you could probably get your heart rate up a litttle more by walking but usually walking lasts a little longer than it might take to descend 7-16 flights of stairs. Stair climbing (or descending) tends to cause the heart rate to go up more quickly, almost anaerobic exercise, if you can think of it that way, and it requires more leg strength and control. When you climb, your quads have to contract (muscle shortens) but when you descend your muscles have to lengthen (known as an eccentric contraction) which can be very good for building muscle and toning. Just depends on what you're seeking. (I think we're in the same group--I recognize these floors of 7 and 16!) :)


Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 10:04 PM

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Just be aware of how your knees feel - stair descending can aggravate them, especially if you have an old injury.

As someone who works out on stairs with a heartrate monitor and walks with a heartrate monitor, I feel comfortable saying that there's more cardio benefit to walking. Going down the stairs at a moderate pace puts my heartrate around 100, but I walk at 3mph on flat terrain and my heartrate is in the 120s. I only go down the stairs as a way to bring my pulse down when it gets higher than I want it.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 12:48 AM

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Thanks... I'm not really thinking of this as long term exercise just something I was thinking about while walking down the stairs that has been bothering me now :)

Walking up the stairs was easily the hardest, but I didn't know if in my head walking down the stairs was equal to just taking to long way back to my car or if it was more work than those same amount of steps walking. Again nothing I'm tracking for my real excercise or anything just one of those things that pops in my head and seems to stick for some reason.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 10:27 AM

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