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Many school stadiums open to the public on certain days and times.
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Running stairs provides an intense calorie burn, torching up to 885 calories per hour for a 130-pound person. The exercise doesn't require any special equipment or an expensive gym membership, and it helps you tone muscles throughout your lower body. Stair climbing targets muscles in your legs and hips, but light weights help bring your upper body into the workout as well.
Running stairs works all the muscles in your legs. Add a pair of dumbbells to engage your arm muscles too.
Running up the stairs, whether it's several flights in your office building or the stairs in a school stadium, focuses most of the toning energy on your calf muscles and hamstrings in the back of your thighs. Your calf muscles work as you flex and point your toes and when you push off from the balls of your feet. The hamstring muscles help bend your knees for each step, also engaging the gluteus. Lifting your knees requires help from your abdominals as well.
Going down the stairs is more high-impact than the trip to the top, so consider walking or jogging down rather than running. The quadriceps in the front of your thighs get the toning benefit of the downward movement, helping to shape the front of your hips by bringing the hip flexors into the mix as well. Leaning back slightly helps focus much of the impact in your gluteus instead of your knees, making the trip down safer and easier on your joints.
Hit the Target
While running stairs engages muscles throughout your mid and lower body, targeting certain muscles means changing your movements. For example, focus more on toning the adductors in your inner thighs by running sideways. Stand facing the rail and put one foot on the first step, then cross over that foot with your other one to reach the next step. Continue crossing over, increasing your speed as you can. Also, give your hamstrings and abdominals more of a workout by taking the stairs two at a time, requiring you to lift your knees higher.
Engage Your Arms
Stair running doesn't use much in the way of arm muscles normally, but bringing dumbbells or other hand weights on your run adds an upper-body component. Add weights only after becoming proficient at running stairs; the additional weight makes your legs work harder. As you run, alternate your arms in biceps curls or forward punches. At the top of the stairs or as you finish a flight, pause to push your arms straight above you in overhead presses, or lift your arms from your sides to shoulder-height in lateral side raises.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images