How Many Calories Do You Burn Climbing Stairs?

Natalie Cecconi
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Everyone is familiar with the numbers on the treadmills in the gym, but there are other, less obvious ways that you can burn calories in your day-to-day life. One way is to climb stairs, but it’s not that straightforward. What are stairs, and how can you work out using stairs? How many calories can you burn climbing them?

By their very nature, stairs are a pretty straightforward concept. Each step is approximately six inches high.

While climbing stairs is technically equivalent to any other aerobic exercise, going down replaces the work done by your muscles with work done by your joints and body weight.

Let's discuss factors that impact how many calories you burn climbing stairs, how it compares to other activities, and some stair workouts to get you started. This includes both actual stairs as well as a Stairmaster.

How Many Calories Will I Burn Climbing Stairs?

The amount of calories you burn by climbing up the stairs depends on various factors; body weight is vital.

A reasonable estimate can be around 0.17 calories per stair climbed and 0.05 calories per stair descended. This figure may be more or less, depending on your weight.

By taking the stairs to reach the next floor (we use two flights of 10 steps each), you will burn approximately 3.4 calories. Most people can expect to burn more than 200 calories for a half-hour workout.

What Impacts Calories Burned?

The number of calories you burn climbing stairs will depend on various factors, including your body weight, the stairs you are climbing, and your method of climbing.

Generally, climbing stairs is similar to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. You are breathing harder than usual but can still talk in short sentences, and you can keep it up for up to an hour without getting noticeably tired. Your heart is beating a bit faster, and you are making full use of your aerobic system.

The harder you climb the stairs, the higher your heart rate will go and the more calories you will burn.

Most adults can burn roughly 100 calories climbing about 12 floors in 12-15 minutes. With two flights a day, you will burn off about 10 pounds of fat within a year.

If you are heavier or climbing a steeper set of stairs, you will burn more calories, of course. Also, wearing a weighted pack or holding hand weights will increase your calorie burn.

On the other hand, if you are casually climbing up the floors, you will burn fewer calories.

Regardless of your climbing situation, these calories burn estimates should give you a realistic idea of the basic calorie burn from climbing stairs.

Your Weight

If there is more weight to climb up the stairs against gravity, you’ll burn more calories. This is good news for heavy people. You will burn more calories if you weigh more. This works with both fat and muscle.

Wearing a weighted vest can be another idea to boost calorie burning while climbing up the stairs. It will increase the intensity by adding to the weight your body has to get up the stairs. This is a great way to build strength in your legs as well.

Climbing Speed

The number of calories you burn climbing stairs depends a lot on your climbing speed. The faster you climb, the more calories you burn.

At an average pace, the number of calories you burn climbing 12 meters of stairs ranges from 59 to 88. While at a more vigorous pace, you burn around 100 calories climbing 12 meters of stairs, which is more than the average.

If you climb fast, give yourself the advantage of speed by climbing up and down to get your heart pumping hard. It’s easier to increase your speed on a Stairmaster without making it more likely that you’re going to hurt yourself by tripping on a stair. Just be aware of your surroundings when you decide to speed things up.

How Long You Climb

The number of calories you burn in a day can vary a lot depending on many factors, including how long you climb.

Suppose you want a rough estimate of the number of calories you burn. In that case, you can use the calories burned climbing stairs calculator, which estimates it at about 7.6 calories/minute (assuming a 150 lbs man).

That means climbing the stairs for an hour daily, and you will burn off 16,320 calories per month without doing any other activity. Interesting? Isn't it?

The Height of Each Step

If you are thinking about climbing the stairs and want to estimate how many calories you’ll burn, you first need to find out exactly how many stairs you’ll be climbing and the exact height of each step.

A taller step requires more work to climb and therefore burns more calories. For example, someone who weighs 125 pounds and climbs 6-inch-high steps for 30 minutes will burn about 232 calories. Change that height to 8,” and you’ll burn about 25 calories more.

Differences Between Walking and Climbing Stairs

Walking is an excellent place to start; climbing is far superior in terms of quick calorie burn.

To burn the most calories, you need to choose the most efficient form of activity for your goals. As far as climbing stairs VS walking goes, it is evident that climbing stairs are more effective.

Climbing stairs is more efficient in burning calories than walking. Many factors play a role in this difference. First, climbing stairs is a more intense exercise. The intensity level of climbing stairs is more significant because you have to recruit more muscle fibers and put more stress on your joints.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should only climb stairs and avoid any other workout. Cross-training is crucial because you avoid overworking particular muscles, and it makes you more well-rounded.

Climbing Stairs Vs Other Activities

If you want to burn more calories, you should climb stairs and not use the escalator/elevator, right? Not always!

For someone who is 125 pounds and works out for 30 minutes, they will burn:

  • 232 calories climbing 6” high stairs
  • 300 calories running a 10-minute-mile pace
  • 188 calories cycling at a 6-minute-mile pace
  • 188 calories swimming casually
  • 125 calories walking at a 20-minute-mile pace

Running will always remain on top of the list when it comes to burning calories.

Get Started Climbing Stairs

Climbing steps or stairs can be a powerful ally in your weight loss campaign if done right. They are an effective form of exercise and are excellent for cardio fitness training.

Step climb is an aerobic exercise that burns calories and fat, and it helps you lose weight. The idea of burning more calories at a greater pace than standard aerobic exercises is one reason why steps can be so practical. You can lose weight even faster when you climb in intervals.

In addition to losing some serious weight, climbing stairs can significantly tone and tighten your thighs, hips, arms, abs, and butt. The list of benefits goes on and on.

Stair Intervals

First, walk up and down a flight of stairs, then run up and down the stairs. Then finish by walking up and down the stairs.

Skater Steps

Place your left foot on the far-left side of the second step, and then place your right foot on the far-right side of the fourth step. Continue climbing, taking the stairs two at a time with wide steps while keeping your head up. To boost the calorie burn, swing your arms and engage your abdominals as you go. After reaching the top, walk back down. That's one rep. Do one more.

9/11 Remembrance

As the world remembers the events of September 11, 2001, I’ve been thinking a lot about my Dad.

Fifteen years ago, he was in the office of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. He was the VP of Human Resources and worked in the human resources department on the 78th floor.

The terror attack on the World Trade Center happened on a Tuesday, on his regular office day. He left the house early as usual. He kissed my Mom and me – as he always did – and chatted with my Mom for a few minutes before leaving. That was the last time I’d see him.

The day came to an end, and my Dad did not come back home. I learned the news on the radio: the Twin Towers had been attacked. I didn’t yet know which of the two buildings my Dad worked in had been hit.

First, I heard the South Tower, and then I heard the North Tower.
Seeing the first tower fall on TV was devastating enough. Seeing the second one fall was too much to bear.

Climb 110 flights of stairs (ideally that contain 2,226 steps) or 110 steps depending on your fitness level to remember the events of 9/11, since there were 110 floors in the World Trade Center Twin Towers.


Stair climbing is a great way to burn calories. Just how many calories you’ll burn depends on your weight, the intensity of your workout, and the stair height.

Stair climbing is an excellent option if you’ve been looking for something new to incorporate into your workout routine. You’ll burn a lot of calories, and it will help keep your body guessing as to what you’re going to do next for a workout.