To burn approximately 100 calories, the average person needs to climb about 2,000 stairs. However, the exact number of stairs required to burn 100 calories varies from person to person based on factors like weight, fitness level, and intensity. Climbing stairs is an excellent cardio exercise that can help build leg strength and improve cardiovascular health.
How Many Calories Does Climbing Stairs Burn?
The number of calories burned climbing stairs depends on a few key factors:
- Your weight – Heavier people burn more calories for the same exercise
- Intensity – Climbing stairs faster burns more calories per minute
- Fitness level – People who are more fit burn fewer calories for the same exercise
- Number of stairs – More stairs climbed equals more calories burned
On average, a 155 pound (70 kg) person will burn the following calories climbing stairs:
|Activity||Calories Burned Per 15 Minutes|
|Climbing stairs slowly||63|
|Climbing stairs briskly||102|
|Climbing stairs very briskly||140|
As you can see, intensity makes a major difference in calories burned. Climbing briskly or jogging up stairs can almost double the calories burned versus climbing at a slower, steadier pace.
Heavier individuals will burn even more calories for the same activities. For example, a 200 pound (90 kg) person climbing stairs briskly would burn around 135 calories in 15 minutes.
How Many Stairs to Burn 100 Calories?
Most sources estimate it takes climbing about 2,000 stairs to burn 100 calories. However, this figure is just a general estimate and can vary quite a bit based on the factors mentioned above.
Here are some more specific estimates on how many stairs you need to climb to burn 100 calories:
- For a 125 lb (57 kg) person climbing slowly, about 2,700 stairs
- For a 155 lb (70 kg) person climbing briskly, about 1,600 stairs
- For a 185 lb (84 kg) person climbing briskly, about 1,300 stairs
- For a 125 lb (57 kg) person jogging up stairs, about 1,100 stairs
As you can see, the number of stairs to burn 100 calories ranges from around 1,100 to 2,700 depending on your weight and climbing intensity. Heavier people and those climbing at a faster pace will be able to burn 100 calories with fewer stairs.
Other Factors That Impact Calories Burned
In addition to your weight, intensity, and number of stairs climbed, several other factors influence calories burned when climbing stairs:
- Height of each stair step: Climbing taller stair steps burns more calories because it raises your heart rate more.
- Steepness of the stairs: Steeper stairs burn more calories than shallow stairs because they engage your leg muscles more intensely.
- Using your arms: Pumping your arms as you climb engages your upper body and burns extra calories.
- Fitness level: People who are more cardio fit burn fewer calories for the same exercise.
- Strength training: Building more muscle mass can help you burn slightly more calories.
Trying to determine exactly how many calories climbing stairs burns can be tricky due to all these variables. Even small differences in stair dimensions, climbing tempo, etc. impact calorie burn.
The best approach is to focus more on duration and intensity rather than trying to calculate the exact calorie burn each time you climb stairs. Tracking your calories burned over time can help ensure you’re achieving your desired calorie deficit.
Health and Fitness Benefits of Climbing Stairs
Beyond just burning calories, regularly climbing stairs provides some excellent benefits for your cardiovascular health, leg muscles, lung capacity, and overall fitness:
- Improves cardio conditioning: Climbing stairs raises your heart rate and improves cardio endurance.
- Builds leg strength: Climbing stairs engages all the major muscles in your legs and glutes.
- Increases lung capacity: The deep breathing required helps expand lung capacity.
- Strengthens bones: The impact provides osteogenic benefits to build bone density.
- Convenient cardio option: No equipment required and you can climb stairs anywhere.
- Burns belly fat: Engages core muscles and helps reduce visceral belly fat.
Climbing stairs is an exercise almost anyone can do. It provides an easy, convenient way to get your heart pumping and muscles working anytime you are near a set of stairs.
While jogging up stairs or stair climbing machines provide more intense workouts, even climbing just a few flights at a steady pace delivers great benefits.
Tips for Burning More Calories Climbing Stairs
Here are some tips to help maximize your calorie burn when climbing stairs:
- Climb briskly – Moving at a fast pace will raise your heart rate more.
- Take two stairs at a time – Climbing two steps per stride increases intensity.
- Use your arms – Drive your arms as you climb and engage your upper body.
- Wear a weighted vest – Adding extra weight increases calorie burn.
- Climb more vertical stairs – Steeper stairs use your glutes and legs more.
- Use an elevated platform – Burn extra calories stepping up onto a platform.
- Climb until fatigued – Continuing until you are out of breath optimizes calorie expenditure.
Varying your speed, taking double steps, and introducing upper body movement can help take your stair climbing workout to the next level. Consider incorporating stairs into interval training by alternating intense stair climbing with rest periods.
Is climbing stairs good exercise?
Yes, climbing stairs is an excellent cardio and lower body exercise. Climbing engages your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves while raising your heart rate for cardiovascular benefits. It also strengthens bones and helps expand lung capacity.
Is running up stairs better than climbing?
Running up stairs burns more calories per minute compared to brisk stair climbing. However, it is a more intense exercise and may be too vigorous for some people. Brisk stair climbing provides an easier lower-impact option with plenty of benefits.
How fast should I climb stairs to burn fat?
A good brisk pace that raises your heart rate into your target fat-burning zone (around 60-70% of max heart rate) is ideal. Take the stairs at a pace equivalent to a jog rather than a full-out sprint. Maintaining a pace you can sustain for 10-15 minutes optimizes fat burning.
Should I use my arms when climbing stairs?
Yes, using your arms while climbing engages your upper body muscles and burns extra calories. Drive your elbows back and keep your arms pumping to work your shoulders, back, biceps and triceps while climbing.
Is climbing stairs high-impact or low-impact exercise?
Climbing stairs is considered a low to moderate-impact exercise. It puts less stress on your joints compared to high-impact exercises like jumping or running on hard surfaces. The impact can be minimized further by maintaining a controlled climbing tempo.
The Bottom Line
Climbing approximately 2,000 stairs at a brisk pace will burn around 100 calories for most people. But the exact number varies widely based on your body weight, climbing intensity, and other factors. Focus more on sustaining a brisk stair climbing pace for 10-15 minutes at a time to maximize calorie expenditure and cardiovascular benefits.
Adding stair climbing to your regular cardio routine provides an easy, convenient way to boost calorie burn while building leg strength and endurance. Climbing just a few flights daily can improve your fitness and help you burn extra calories.