Heart: Test Your Heart Health With The Staircase Test
Every year, 120,000 heart attacks occur in France. Because it is one of the main causes of death in our country, it is essential to take care of the good health of your heart, especially when you get older. Did you know that there is a simple test to evaluate your heart health? We suggest you discover the principle and the interest of the staircase test.
What is the principle of this test?
If you feel short of breath when you take the stairs or feel tired during exercise, you may be wondering if your heart is healthy.
According to the WHO, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.
However, before seeing a cardiologist, you can perform a simple test to assess your heart health: the staircase test!
As the name suggests, all you need to do is find a staircase and time how long it takes you to climb 60 steps, the equivalent of 4 floors.
Is this test reliable?
Although this test is not officially recognized, the European Society of Cardiology published on December 11, 2020 a study from the University Hospital of A Coruña in Spain based on this test.
Of 165 volunteers with coronary artery disease, 58% of those who took longer than 1 minute to climb 60 steps had abnormal heart function.
Although not very accurate, this test can give you an initial assessment of your heart health.
In the event of poor stair performance, the result should notably prompt you to see a cardiologist to learn more and to take care of your heart.
On the other hand, this test will not provide you with any additional information if you already know that you have heart problems.
How to proceed?
To take the staircase test, all you need to do is find a building with 4 floors or more and of course forget about the elevator!
The principle of the test is to climb the equivalent of 4 floors or 60 steps as quickly as possible.
To assess your heart health, you must also time yourself.
This is because the time it takes you to complete this effort will tell you about the condition of your heart.
How to interpret the results?
There are two ways to perform and interpret the staircase test.
The first method is to see how many flights of stairs you can climb at a good pace without getting out of breath and without having to stop.
If you are out of breath before you have climbed two flights of stairs, to the point where you can't talk or have to stop, your fitness is not good.
If you can walk up four flights of stairs without getting out of breath, your fitness is good. If you can walk up six flights of stairs, your fitness is very good.
In the last two cases, your heart is doing its job effectively and you don't need to worry about your heart health.
The second method is to time how long it takes you to climb four flights of stairs.
If you can do it in less than 45 seconds, your heart is probably fine.
On the other hand, if it takes you between 1 minute and 1.5 minutes to get to the fourth floor, you should see a doctor.
This may seem like an exaggerated recommendation, but when it comes to heart health, you shouldn't wait until you have symptoms like chest pain to see a specialist.
What is the point of this test?
The staircase test is used to determine whether one needs to see a cardiologist but also to assess one's fitness.
If you can't walk up three or four flights of stairs very quickly without stopping, it's a sign that you need to exercise.
The stair challenge is a kind of simplified variant of the exercise test: it's easy to take to find out if you're too sedentary or if your heart health is lacking.
If you feel short of breath or have pain in your legs before you reach the fourth floor, ask yourself if you are taking the elevator too often or sitting in front of a screen for too long during the day.
This awareness could help you adopt a more active lifestyle and get back into good physical condition, before you take the famous staircase test again a few months later...