[Heathline] How fast can you climb 4 floors of stairs? This can reveal the state of your heart health


  • How fast a person can walk up four flights of stairs can be an indicator of their heart health, researchers say.
  • Experts note that cardiologists use stair climbing in some fitness tests, but this exercise should not be used as a substitute for regular checkups.
  • They also say there are other ways of testing, such as carrying a bag of goods in a car, that could be used as a rough gauge of heart health.

A simple and free heart health test of you as close as the nearest tall building to you.

Researchers from Spain say that being able to climb four flights of stairs in less than a minute is an accurate indicator of good heart health.

“The stair test is an easy way to check your heart health,” said Dr Jesús Peteiro, a cardiologist at Coruña University Hospital and an author of the study. “If it takes you more than a minute and a half to climb four flights of stairs, your health is not optimal and you should consult your doctor.”

Research presented at a recent scientific conference of the European Society of Cardiology compared the results of the stair climbing test with those obtained from the exercise test performed in the laboratory. experience.

This study has not been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.

165 study participants used to walk or run on a treadmill to exhaustion with their exercise capacity measured in metabolic equivalents (METs).

After a period of rest, the team climbed four flights of stairs (60 steps) at a brisk but non-running pace, then measured the METs again.

Participants who climbed stairs in less than 40 to 45 seconds achieved more than 9 to 10 METs.

Previous studies have shown that achieving 10 METs on an exercise test is associated with low mortality (1 percent or less per year, or 10 percent over a 10-year period. ).

Participants who took 1.5 minutes or longer to climb the stairs achieved less than 8 METs, which translates to a predicted mortality rate of 2% to 4% per year, or 30% over 10 years.

Cardiac function imaging throughout the trials showed that 58% of participants who took more than 1.5 minutes to climb stairs had abnormal heart function during exercise.

That compares with 32% of those who climbed the stairs in less than a minute.

Just a starting point

Nearly 1 in 3 study participants, despite climbing stairs quickly, showed abnormal heart function – a possible marker for coronary heart disease.

Renee Bullock-Palmer, cardiologist and director of the Women’s Heart Center and chief of noninvasive cardiac imaging at the Deborah Heart and Lung Center in New Jersey, said: demonstrate why the stair climbing test should not be viewed as a substitute for more comprehensive assessments.

Bullock-Palmer told Healthline: “Based on research, the ability to climb stairs can be used as a rudimentary way to assess a person’s physical function, which can be used to predict health cardiovascular in general.

“However, I believe that this rudimentary self-assessment is no substitute for a physical examination and medical history by a physician and correctly and appropriately ordered cardiac stress testing,” she said. speak.

Dr. Nicole Harkin, founder of the online cardiovascular health organization Whole Heart Cardiology, agrees on this.

“In a typical cardiac stress test, we sometimes see evidence of heart problems (like changes in an electrocardiogram or an ultrasound), even when the patient is not,” she told Healthline. What are the symptoms? Other times, we find other problems, like dangerously changing blood pressure or heart rhythm problems, that would be missed with this type of test.”

All study participants had symptoms associated with coronary heart disease, such as chest pain or shortness of breath during exercise.

“The idea was to find a simple and inexpensive way to assess cardiovascular health,” Peteiro told Healthline. “This could help doctors triage patients to do more tests.”

Harkin notes: Doctors often use the stair-climbing method to assess cardiovascular health.

“It’s an exercise that gets your heart rate up relatively quickly,” she says. “Usually, if there’s a problem like a blocked heart artery, people usually have symptoms (like chest pain or shortness of breath). ) with a higher heart rate. We often use a person’s ability to climb one or two flights of stairs without problems as an indication that they will probably make it through surgery,” she says.

Not for everyone

Dr. Oyere K. Onuma, a cardiologist at Yale Medicine and an assistant professor of medicine at Yale, told Healthline that the stair-climbing test is useful but has its own limitations.

“The big advantage of this method is its ease. It can be done almost anywhere with very little equipment or personnel requirements. It is also much cheaper and faster than traditional cardiac stress tests and can be repeated many times to monitor any progress or change in functioning,” says Onuma.

“However, the downside of this is that the test is not standardized… the type of stairs, the speed at which they climb, the time taken can vary,” she said. “This method also significantly limits the evaluation of patients with limited mobility and elderly patients, who may have more difficulty climbing stairs.”

“As a physician, it is important to assess each patient and assess their current health status and capabilities,” said Dr. Jeremy Pollock, a cardiologist at the University of Maryland St. . Joseph said.

“For example, a frail, 80-year-old patient, who is mostly sedentary, should never be asked to climb a flight of stairs, can complete a short period of strenuous exercise. Strength is a good predictor that a patient is at relatively low risk from a cardiovascular perspective.”

Fortunately, stair climbing isn’t the only way to do a cardiovascular self-assessment, says Pollock.

“Factors like whether they can walk two blocks or carry grocery bags in the car, or many other routine activities in daily life, can also be used as an indicator,” he said. heart health numbers.

“Exercise capacity is always a great indicator of overall cardiovascular health,” says Harkin. “If your ability to complete an intensive exercise program of moderate to high intensity is constantly changing, that is a good sign that something may be going on and you should contact your doctor. his master”.

You can also track things like heart rate recovery (how long it takes for heart rate to drop after intense exercise) as an indicator of heart health,” she adds.

“Additionally, as wearable devices and medical technology continue to improve and become more ubiquitous, we will increasingly be able to use data collected at home, like,” Harkin said. heart rate variability, to inform us about our heart health.

Deane Waldman, a veteran professor of pediatrics, pathology, and decision science and former director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, warns that many older adults and people with diabetes often have joint problems.

“Stair climbing is overwhelming for the knee joint,” he tells Healthline.

These people may or may not perform a cardiac stress test when climbing stairs. But in general they should avoid climbing stairs as a form of regular exercise, Waldman says.

Paul Johnson, founder of Complete Tri, which provides workout advice to fitness enthusiasts, says: “The problem with using stairs for exercise is the climb down.

“Climbing down stairs puts a considerable amount of force on the knees. Make sure you walk down carefully, taking care of your joints after going up the stairs,” he says.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-fast-can-you-climb-4-flights-of-stairs-it-may-reveal-your-heart-health

The article is translated and edited by ykhoa.org – please do not reup without permission!

Translator: Bao bank

Editing: Duong Ngoc

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