Are Stair Climbers Better Than Running?

Are Stair Climbers Better Than Running?

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Running and stair climbing are both effective for losing weight.

Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

When it comes to burning calories, stair climbing and running are going to help you shed the pounds. However, according to a study in 1996 published in the "Journal of the American Medical Association,” running on a treadmill has a higher energy expenditure rate than the stair climber and other indoor machines when the perceived effort is used to establish the exercise intensity. Other factors such as which exercise you enjoy more and its difficulty are important when choosing which workout is better for you.

Physiological Benefits

If your goal is to improve your respiratory and cardiovascular health, the stair climber and running offer similar benefits. In a study published in a 2004 issue of the "Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness,” researchers observed the physiological changes in moderately active females for three months. They concluded that similar physiological benefits were observed in the women who exercised with a stair climber, elliptical trainer and treadmill. The female participants of the study performed the exercises at the same intensity and duration.

Which Burns More Calories

You will want the exercise that burns the most calories, if your goal is to lose weight. While the "Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness” concluded that there were no differences if the intensity and duration is the same, and an earlier study published in the "Journal of the American Medical Association” concluded that running on a treadmill provided the greatest energy expenditure. However, it is worth noting that the researchers at the “Journal of the American Medical Association” based their conclusion on the perceived level of exertion, which makes the results unreliable. With conflicting reports, it cannot be accurately determined which exercise burns more calories.

Level of Skill Required

Some aerobic exercises require a higher level of skill to get the most out of the exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) put aerobic exercises into three categories, based on their level of difficulty. Stair climbing and running are in group one, which means neither exercise is dependent on your level of skill. Therefore, what you get out of an exercise session with either the stair climber or running depends on the level of intensity, which makes them equally effective.


Since all of the research suggests that stair climbing and running provide equally effective cardio workouts, you have to decide on non-scientific factors. People perform better when they enjoy the activity; therefore, choose the exercise you enjoy performing more. ACSM states that cross training on a variety of exercise equipment provides a higher level of enjoyment and a reduced risk of musculoskeletal injury. The stair climber is not better than running; it ultimately depends on how much effort you put into your workout.