Friday, March 11, 2011

Step It Up

Can't find the time to squeeze in a workout at the gym? Then pretend your office building's elevator is out of service and hit the stairs.
Even a brief burst of speedy stair-climbing can be "back-loosening, head-clearing aerobic jolts." Plus, unlike stretching in your office or doing air squats in the bathroom stall, staircase racing is a competitive sport:

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.
Of course, if you work or live in a building that doesn't quite scrape the sky, you may need a Plan B.

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.
(San Francisco Bay Area readers: It's not too late to sign up for the Fight for Air Climb on March 26...)