climbing stairs vs coming down- for exercise.

this is in context of trying to get some exercise during lunch time:
is there a medical constant that one of the above two is better for all, or does it depend on each one's health.. (some say it is easy for them to go down.. some say it is easy on them to go up).
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25112Asked:
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Missus Miss_SellaneusCommented:
Walking down stairs/hills is hard on your knees, so avoid it if you have bad knees. Walking up stairs burns more calories. But check out this article here.. it claims that going downhill reduces blood sugar levels more than going uphill. (?)

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6795822/#.VUBGq6P9k5g
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EirmanChief Operations ManagerCommented:
Going up takes a lot more effort because you have to carry the weight of your body.
Also, the heavier you are, the more calories you burn.

One can run up and down 2 flights of stairs a lot longer than just running up a lot of flights.
That's because you are resting to a degree when coming down and not fighting against gravity.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Climbing stairs (watch your own physical ability) is MUCH better for your heart, lungs and muscles.

I use public transit a lot to get 50Km to downtown Toronto. I make every effort to hoof it up stairs as fast as I can. I have a long uphill walkway to the Express Bus with many stairs. I am normally out of breath at the top. But the more I do it, the better off I feel, and if I use public transit all week instead of driving to the subway, I will normally shed a few extra pounds.

Going downstairs is zero effort and nothing gained.

I am year past pension age so I pay attention to the above. My MD agrees and I continue to serve clients.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Don't underestimate the value of walking down stairs.

Sure you aren't shifting your body's weight against gravity but going downstairs isn't a "free ride" in terms of energy use, you actualy burn about a third of the calories you do when climbing the same stairs.  You also use a different set of muscles, put more demand on the muscles and ligaments around the knee joint and get improved balance co-ordination (people rarely fall when climbing up).  It's also pretty good low-impact exercise.

The jury's still out on the benefits to your blood chemistry though, there are certainly studies showing  decreases in LDL (bad fats) and better sugar control comparing going upstairs with down but they are small numbers and were comparing relatively fit adults running upstairs as fast as possible to develop exercise stamina (think football coaches and stadium steps!)  with the same people being measured later the same day going downhill so the science is a little questionable as the exercise patterns were very different.
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viki2000Commented:
I am just curios, how many stairs are we talking about?
And how big is one step?
I just try to imagine about what effort are we speaking about.
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speed_54Commented:
Some facts:
You burn about 0.15 calories for every step you climb, so you burn roughly a calorie for every 10 upward steps
You also burn calories going down. Every stair descended burns about 0.05 calories, so you burn 1 calorie for every 20 steps down.
7 minutes stair climbing a day has been estimated to more than halve the risk of a heart attack over 10 years, while two minutes additional stair climbing a day is enough to prevent average middle age weight gain. Climbing 20 floors a week (just four a working day) is associated with a 20% lower risk of all-cause mortality.
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EirmanChief Operations ManagerCommented:
You can buy Stair Climbing Machines.
I don't think any of them work in reverse (i.e. have a descend mode).
http://www.allegromedical.com/exercise-fitness-c523/stairway-ultimate-stair-climber-machine-by-jacob-s-ladder-p565845.html
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
going downstairs isn't a "free ride"  On reflection, true. Walking on the level is not a free ride either.

But there is no comparison in effort climbing up versus walking down.
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viki2000Commented:
That is not true John. Everybody knows that is harder uphills.
You can feel it. Just take a backpack with 10Kg and go on the mountain. Every man who likes to go on mountains knows that.
And by the way uphills you fight with gravity, we speak about potential energy besides the kinetic energy.
There are different groups of muscles involved, but assuming that you have no problems with the knees, then is easier downhill, unless is very steep/abrupt or very slippery, but is not the case with stairs.
Last summer I visited an old citadel named Poenari, built on a hill. It is one of the castle of Vlad the Impaler, known also as Dracula . The access was only by walking on stairs.
There are 1480 stairs.
Don't tell me about the effort made to arrive in the top of the hill, only one word: hard.
Coming down? Piece of cake for everyone around, from all the visitors groups seen.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I think you took my remark out of context somehow and you said what I have said. There is a LOT more error required to climb up than to come down.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
"Coming down? Piece of cake for everyone around, from all the visitors groups seen."
And you saw no-one hesitating because they might lose their balance and fall?

Like John and others already said it's about three times as much effort going up but there are benefits to be gained from going in both directions.
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viki2000Commented:
"And you saw no-one hesitating because they might lose their balance and fall?"
No, because they did not run :)

25112 wants to make some exercise on stairs. Well, I do not imagine him running up and down or doing Shaolin exercises with water buckets :), I think is just is a fight against the sedentary office activity. During lunch time only? Well, is good maybe for the knees, but the real exercises implies sweating.
I have at work an office and a lab. One is at first floor - just counted 18 steps and the other as at ground floor. I go back and forth daily minimum 5 times up to 10 times,  not only during lunch time. It is nothing. Sometimes I still feel sedentary without additional workout, sport activity.
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nickg5Commented:
I once walked up the entire Washington Monument with a heavy bandage on one foot.
Great exercise.....over 800 steps. I did take the elevator down.
I used to be in the moving services business and had to stop due to bad knees as a result of carrying heavy things up stairs backwards. Down is alot easier. Up is good for your calf muscles.
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viki2000Commented:
Coming back to the real office stairs exercise, I hope that does not mean: going down on the stairs to the lunch in cafeteria or closest fast food and at the end of the break going up back in the office.
If you want to have a result, then use as much as you can from your break to do that exercise and maybe jump over the lunch.
But going up and down on the stairs will make your colleagues look at you as a weirdo, Be ready to climb the psychological hill, 'cause they will tell you to take some gym/fitness hours after work time in a proper studio...
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EirmanChief Operations ManagerCommented:
Given the danger of 'breaking you neck' running down stairs
and the necessity of a rest period, my final advice is ....

Run up the stairs
Take the lift/elevator down
Run up the stairs
Take the lift/elevator down
Run up the stairs
Take the lift/elevator down
etc.
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nickg5Commented:
A good alternative is climbing stairs 2 steps at a time.  
Keep your torso vertical when you do it (in other words, don't lean forward).
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25112Author Commented:
helpful... will walk with renewed understanding!
thx all!
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