How Many Calories Does Walking Up The Stairs Burn? -
man climbing up the stairs

How Many Calories Does Walking Up The Stairs Burn?

Back in a day, when big cities started struggling with space for new buildings, more and more tall structures were built. That way, by occupying the same area on the ground as ordinary houses, these tall buildings were able to accommodate much more. In cities were the amount of tax was calculated on square feet of the land occupied, tall structures were also a great way to maximise revenue by paying less tax.

Nowadays, we cannot imagine any big city without skyscrapers or tall residential developments. But the truth is, most of us could never live or work in them if lifts were never invented. However, have you ever wondered what benefits can good old stairs bring? How many calories would you burn every time you do not use the lift?

Let’s find out.


According to The University of New Mexico‘s Health Sciences Center research you burn 15 calories per 3 flights of stairs (average flight of stairs being 12 steps). That means for every stair you climb you burn 0.42 calories on average (based on 150 [68 kg] to 160 [72.5 kg] pound person. The more you weight the more calories you burn).

Normally, there are two flights of stairs per floor (24 steps on average) which means you burn 10 calories by only going one floor up! Have a look at these diagrams I have prepared to make it more visual:

calories burnt per flight of stairs calories burnt per step

As a comparison, walking only burns 0.2 calories per step, which means you need to make twice as many steps to burn the same amount of calories.

Calories per favourite products

Let’s have a look at how many calories do a few of favourite fast food items and beverages contain:

  • Can of Coke (330 ml) – 139cal (source:
  • Glass of white or red wine (175 ml) – 160cal (source:
  • Burrito – 710cal (tortilla + chicken + white rice + fresh tomato salsa) (source:
  • Slice of pizza (103 g) – 272cal (source:

So let’s assume you had a slice of pizza and a can of coke for lunch which is approximately 411 calories. You would need roughly one hour and 15 minutes (based on 160 [72.5kg] person, 4 mph speed) on a treadmill to burn them. But what if instead of taking a lift after lunch you would use the stairs to go back to your floor?

Say you work on the 10th floor: if on average there are 2 flights of steps per floor it means that only by going back to your desk you burn 100 calories! It will probably take you around 5 minutes to do it (if that) and you save yourself 15 minutes on a treadmill (it would take roughly 20 minutes to burn the same amount of calories).

Sounds good doesn’t it?

Other health benefits

A few other benefits of using the stairs (source:  The University of New Mexico):

  • Improved leg strength and overall health
  • Better stamina
  • Reduces a risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Good way to cope with job related stress
  • Sometimes quicker than using a lift

As with many things in life, simple things are often well underestimated. Climbing the stairs is one of them.

Make this little change in your life by starting tomorrow and you will feel the difference before you know it!

Did you know how people are getting scammed in London? Have a look at Urban Scams #1: Cups and ball scam.

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