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Question: I read your recent column on working out at home using the treadmill. I don't have a treadmill, so I was hoping you could suggest a few ways I could use the stairs in my house as a substitute.

Answer: A set of stairs can be an excellent workout tool. Some athletes get in shape by running stairs in stadiums, but a household staircase can be just as effective.

Try this workout:

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Warm up by walking up and down your full flight of stairs three times.

For the main part of the workout, walk up the stairs once, jog up the stairs once, then run up the stairs once. Repeat this trio as many times as you can in 10 minutes. Each week, increase your duration by one minute until you get to 20 minutes.

If that is too intense, substitute a 30-second march in place instead for the running portion of the set.

If you want to use your stairs as a warm-up before you do weights, try this:

Perform a pyramid set of jumping jacks and step runs*. In a pyramid set you alternate the two exercises and the repetitions increase and then decrease within the set: 5 jumping jacks, 5 step runs, 10 jumping jacks, 10 step runs, 15 jumping jacks, 15 step runs, 20 jumping jacks, 20 step runs, 15 jumping jacks, 15 step runs, 10 jumping jacks, 10 step runs, 5 jumping jacks, 5 step runs.

*To do step runs, step up and down on the bottom stair quickly with each leg for the required number of repetitions.



Trainer's Tip: Try incorporating your staircase into your resistance training workout. For example, do incline push-ups with your hands on the step and feet on the floor, or decline push-ups with your feet on the step and hands on the floor.

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Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com . She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Kathleen Trotter

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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