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Family Sports & Fitness

Step It Up

Don’t avoid stairs – see them as a workout opportunity!

Whether you use a stair-stepping fitness machine or just take on the staircases in buildings, stairs provide you with a giant step toward new heights of health. Not only is stair-stepping an aerobic exercise, it strengthens your bones too.

Stair Climbing Benefits
Bone strengthening
•  The weight-bearing exercise builds bone density
Healthier heart
•  Raises your heart rate for a good cardio workout
Strengthens legs and hips
•  Repeatedly stretches and contracts muscles 

Going Up!
You’ll expend twice as much energy going up the stairs as you will going down them, and improve the following muscles as you climb:
Quadriceps (front of the thighs)
•  Muscles stretch and contract
•  Each step creates hip flexion, knee contraction, and extension
Hamstrings (back of the thigh)
•  Worked when you extend your hip and flex your knee
•  Knee flexion occurs when you bend your knee and move your heel backward
Calves (back of the legs below the knees)
•  Activated with plantar flexion
•  Occurs when you bend your ankle and point your foot downward just before your foot leaves the step
Tensor Fascia Latae (outside of the hip)
•  Flexes and contracts the hip
•  Flexes hip when you move your thigh closer to your stomach

Work your mid-to-lower body with a sideways step up or down and reap different muscle benefits:
Glutes (buttocks muscles that move the hips) get a stronger workout
•  Moves your thigh backward for hip extension
•  Moves your thigh outward for hip abduction
Adductors (the inside of the thighs) work harder
•  Moves your thigh inward as you walk sideways up the stairs Iliopsoas (hip flexors)
•  Flex more than when you’re stepping forward
Abs (core/stomach muscles)
•  Stabilize your body while you step sideways
•  Contracting these muscles produces additional force

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