Thursday, March 24, 2011

Conquering skyscrapers to keep fit

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Although they may be unable to leap tall buildings in a single bound, enthusiasts of tower climbing insist they can conquer skyscrapers, and stay fit, just by taking the stairs.

When it comes to multi-story run-ups, the higher the rise, they say, the richer the challenge.

"They call it the vertical marathon," New York-based securities analyst Brian Kuritzky said of his maiden climb up the 1,576 steps of the Empire State Building. "I have a lot of pride for the city, so to do a race up its most iconic item was special for me."

Kuritzky, who on a spur-of-the-moment bet tackled the Iron Man triathlon competition last year, is no stranger to a workout challenge.

But he described last month's Empire State Building Run up, in which 440 finishers triumphed, as "very intense, very tough."

It was also very compact.

"The Iron Man took almost 16 hours, so to be done in 13.37 minutes is very appealing," he said of his time, "and to have the challenge as well is very cool."

To prepare for his run, Kuritzsky thrice scaled the stairs of his 30-storey apartment building in downtown Manhattan just so he could get a sense of the distance and how his legs would feel. Then he did it again.

"At a certain point you have to have mental fortitude," Kuritzsky said. "My legs shut down at the 60th floor (of the Empire State Building). At that point you can either stop or push through. A skyscraper run is an enticing thing to see how far you can push yourself."

Fabio Comana of the American Council on Exercise said stair climbing can be a great conditional workout for the lower extremity and the cardio-respiratory system.

"The impact on joints is minimal, although there's stress on the knees," the exercise physiologist said. "It's a great workout for the glutes," he said, referring to the muscles in the buttocks.

Comana, who did some stair climbing while training for rugby, said stair climbing works both energy systems -- the aerobic, which uses a lot of oxygen in activities like running or swimming, and the anaerobic, which kicks in during short bursts of high-intensity exercise, such as weight lifting or muscle-building.

"It's a very effective form of training for both systems," he explained. "It fits well into the training regimens of sports like soccer and rugby, where you need both."

Comana added that while stair climbing is not a full body workout because there is not much for the upper body, it's great training for the lower half.

"I think it's a great exercise for everyone," he said. "As we age we tend to lose strength in lower extremities before we do in upper extremities."

Comana called stair-climbing a time-efficient workout that brings out the competitive fervor in a person.

"You get to the top of the stairs, you are gassed," he said.

Kuritsky is already eyeing the next steel mountain to conquer.

"I read there's a race in Dubai," he said of a run up the 163-story Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper. "In Chicago, there's a stair run up the John Hancock Building. And at the CN tower in Toronto I hear they let you go up as many times as you want."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Run your own StairClimbing Meet-up Chapter in Your Own City!

Are you a business-minded fitness professional who enjoys helping individuals get healthy? Are you searching for a extra source of income?

The Canada StairClimbing Association is searching for the best fitness professionals in Canada who want to own their own company with us. You will be part of an amazing group of individuals throughout Canada who are making a huge difference in peoples lives using stairclimbing.

You will own your company underneath our Association. We offer full training, 24 hour business support, a complete operations manual for success. As well as weekly conference calls and weekly business coach support.

StairClimbing is quickly becoming the way for Canadians to get the fitness results they deserve! The Canada StairClimbing Association is the leader for improving fitness through stairclimbing.

Come join our team of StairClimbing Meet-up Organizers who are enjoying running their own business and making a great income doing so!

For more information please visit our Meet-up Chapter Website

Trevor Folgering
The Canada StairClimbing Association

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Seattle's 650 staircases offer unique fitness opportunity

Hundreds of staircases snake their way through the city of Seattle. Sure, these provide shortcuts through neighborhoods - but there are also plenty of ways to use staircases near your home or office to pump up your fitness routine.

SEATTLE - Hundreds of staircases snake their way through the city of Seattle.

Sure, these provide shortcuts through neighborhoods - but there are also plenty of ways to use staircases near your home or office to pump up your fitness routine.

Thanks to Susan Ott Ralph and her husband David, a map of the city's 650 staircases is now online.

Susan Ott Ralph says, "I just think it's fun that no matter how poor you are, anyone can go climb some stairs."

Susan and David not only counted every stair - they took pictures to show you what you're getting yourself into.

Lisa Kennelly, "I don't have to go to the gym; I just can just walk out my door and walk up the stairs."

Staircases offer a great free workout. You can take the stairs one at a time, or challenge yourself, jumping two at a time.

For pointers on getting started, I consulted outdoor fitness expert John Colver, who founded outdoor fitness company Adventx in Seattle and just finished a book, "Fit By Nature."

"Maybe a good place to start is twice a week," says John.

And don't forget the warm-up before you tackle any set of stairs. You can do some jumping jacks to pump the heart rate up and maybe some leg swings to loosen up those muscles you’re about to work.

And like starting any new exercise, make sure it’s OK with your doctor and take it slow to start.

John says, "The most important thing to do, for somebody starting out, is to go slow."

Demonstrating a slow pace up the stairs, he says, "If I come out here and do this for two or three weeks, then by the time I get into the program a little ... I'll be able to pick up the speed and go faster."

In addition to a slower speed, John says to make sure you're standing tall, with all your weight in your heels, to prevent pain in your knees.

He also has some advice about how to avoid repetition.

"Instead of just going straight up and down, we can exercise the stabilizer muscles by going sideways, and do a few steps like that and change around," John says.

Before you know it, you'll be running up the stairs like Steve Barker does - three or four times a week. He mapped out a route that takes him up the Howe Street stairs not once, but twice, during his run.

"I have the theme song from Rocky on my iPod," he says.

Running or walking - reaching the top usually adds another bonus.

"And of course stairs means views," says Susan. "If you have a hill, you have a view."

Susan says her stair mapping is how she and her husband David discovered Fremont Peak Park.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Adventures of a Stair Master!

FOR me, stair climbing is an exercise chaser. My real exercise is hard, sustained cardio, five times a week, at a gym these days, but a lifetime habit begun when I was an 8-year-old by running a half-mile before breakfast, around the block in Neenah,

Still, I enjoy climbing stairs. And at work, at The New York Times building, I climb nine flights, typically three times a day, for a total of 609 steps, up but not down.

The brief treks are back-loosening, head-clearing aerobic jolts — and they may be contributing more to my health than I suspect, according to exercise experts. Stairs, it seems, are a neglected asset in the fitness crusade.

“There’s good scientific evidence that the activity itself is quite beneficial,” said Paul M. Juris, a kinesiologist and executive director of the Cybex Institute for Exercise Science, in Medway, Mass., the research arm of the maker of Cybex exercise equipment.

Mr. Juris, a former researcher at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan and a past consultant to professional sports teams, including the Dallas Mavericks of the N.B.A., pointed to stair-climbing scholarship. It concludes that a few brisk climbs a day, like my modest regimen, can increase aerobic capacity and reduce cholesterol.

Most any stair-climbing routine, experts say, is a healthy step, literally, toward achieving the recommended level of physical activity for adults, according to the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. (The goal: moderate aerobic activity — think purposeful walking — for 30 minutes five or more days a week, or vigorous activity like jogging for 20 minutes or more at least three times a week.)

“It’s not all or nothing,” said Carla Sottovia, an exercise physiologist at the Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas. “Short bouts of exercise, like climbing stairs, certainly help. It all adds up.”

For real athletes, there are staircase races. Once regarded as oddball curiosities, the races have increased in number and stature. Last year there were more than 160 staircase races in the world, on five continents, chronicled and celebrated on Web sites like One of the earliest races, the 86-floor ascent of the Empire State Building, begun in 1978, was run for the 34th time on Feb. 1, attracting competitors from around the world.

Serious stair runners seem to be mostly marathoners and triathletes, who find stairs a related but novel challenge.

For Emily Kindlon, 30, a runner and triathlete, gaining access to high-rise buildings for training is an obstacle. Frustrated by her eight-story apartment building in Brooklyn, she asks friends in loftier homes for stair privileges. Yet building managers, she said, are reluctant to open their stairs to outsiders, and one asked her to sign a legal wavier.

“In case I fell and broke my neck,” she explained.

“I’ve honestly considered moving to a high-rise in Manhattan for the stairs,” Ms. Kindlon said.

To James Miller, 52, who runs up to 60 miles a week, stair climbing is a kind of cross-training, as if they were vertical wind sprints. “It really expands the lungs — that has to help the running,” he said.

Like Ms. Kindlon, Mr. Miller participated in the Empire State Building race this year. His training was done at home, by repeatedly scaling the 17 flights of his Central Park West apartment building. The training, he said, got him thinking about the neglected stairs.

“It’s not ingrained in our brains to take the stairs,” Mr. Miller observed. “But we live in New York City, and we have this great resource here — so many buildings with so many stairs.”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tim VanOrden's Running Raw Project: Health Care Rant

I wanted to post this because this has been on my mind for a while, especially eating healthy and how expensive it is to be healthy. Tim really summed this up well. Comments??? Thoughts??? The system needs to change!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

When Trevor Folgering takes the stairs, he doesn’t just go up one or two flights - it’s about 100 plus.

By: Julie Folk

Stair climbing is emerging as both a sport and a work out. The fitness benefits are unbelievable, and it’s amazing how much fun you can have on flights of stairs.

Folgering, the head of Stair Climbing Canada, invited me to try the stairs one nice weekend in February. I wasn’t sure what to expect – I knew it would be tough but wasn’t sure what the workout would be like or how long it would take me to tire out. Turns out, not too long. As Folgering describes it, stair climbing is an entirely different sort of training. It’s cardiovascular, but it’s also hugely beneficial for core and lower body strength training.

“Stair climbing is really an easy thing to do anywhere, anyplace, anytime, by anybody,” he said. “You can really push yourself as hard as you can. It’s a very natural movement of the body, so it’s a really safe and really efficient way of getting a great workout. The great thing about stair climbing is it burns so many calories you don’t have to do it very long to see great results.”

On this particular day we performed sets that included slow, technical stair climbing to learn and improve the movement, sets incorporating squats and strength work, and sprints. This is the type of workout the meet-up group – which meets three times a week at the Delta Hotel in downtown Regina – partakes in.

Glenn LaPointe is one member who has incorporated stair climbing into his workout routine. Almost six months ago, LaPointe decided he needed to turn his life around. He quit smoking and began exercising. In addition to gym workouts, he incorporated stair climbing, and has seen a significant improvement in his cardiovascular endurance as well as muscle strength.“It all started here,” he said. “Trevor got me into it. Once I started stair climbing, I’ve incorporated it at work where I always take the stairs, never the elevator. I sleep better at night. The wheeze (from smoking) is gone and my cardiovascular keeps increasing.”

There are those who stairclimb for fitness, and others who stair climb competitively. The sport began in the mid-1970s in other parts of the world, particularly the United States. People were climbing the stairs of buildings around the United States, including the Empire State Building in New York City. The sport grew in the 1980s and ’90s, and associations began organizing races, in particular to raise money for charities. The number of competitive stair climbing athletes continues to increase, and Folgering is hoping to grow the sport in Canada.

As the founder of the Canada Stair Climbing Association, Folgering began the association while he was living in Toronto. It was there he first climbed into the sport.

“In 2006 I was a personal trainer in downtown Toronto,” said Folgering. With the owners of the fitness center he was working at, they decided that to get in better shape they would climb the stairs of their apartment building.

“We went to our apartment building, climbed up and down the stairs, and I was hooked. It was phenomenal. It was the best workout I’ve ever had. I changed my training and focused more on stair climbing. I found out there were races at the CN Tower, and started training for them.”

In 2006, Folgering climbed the CN Tower stairs in 14 minutes and 49 seconds. Four years later, he climbed it in 11 minutes and 19 seconds. He was most recently the top Canadian and 29th overall at an unofficial world stair climb championship at the Empire State Building. He is continuing to grow the sport in Regina, and will be holding a few events to spread the word. On April 3rd, there will be stair climbs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Cornwall Center. Groups of five will climb the two sets of stairs in three- to five-minute intervals, with prizes going to the top three finishers.

There is another event that will be scheduled at the Delta Hotel later in the year, which will include all levels of stair climbers competing in various categories.

For anyone from competitive stair climbers to cross training athletes to fitness enthusiasts, stair climbing is greatly beneficial. It needs to be tried to truly understand what it’s all about. And as I can attest from just 30 minutes on a Saturday – it’s a leg and cardio workout like you’ve never had before.

For more information please visit

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spring into Summer with our StairClimbing Meet-up Groups! (Regina Location)

StairClimbing is fast becoming a great way to really shed body fat and get into the best shape of your life!

Our stairclimbing meet-up groups are designed to take you from flabby to fabulous in just three months!

Get ready for the spring and summer seasons by taking advantage of this great activity!

Here is what one of our participants had to say about our program:

"Your program is so well laid out, easy to follow and challenges me to really want my best performance. I love the step by step approach (ha, pun intended) and that I can work at my pace and still be among a great group while doing so.

Thanks again Trevor, this workout is awesome and I recommend to everyone. Really. It's great for anyone looking to feel great, increase energy and enjoy the process!" - Corrine Johnson Regina

Stairclimbing Times:

Wednesday at 6:15-7:15
Friday at 6:15-7:15
Sundays at 1-2pm

For more information and to sign up please visit:

Looking to start your own Meet-up Group in your own city?

Contact us to find out more information!

The Canada StairClimbing Association