New heart study suggests stairs could determine level of health

INDIANAPOLIS Ind. (WISH) – A newly-released study suggests a simple stair test can help determine your heart health. Doctors at IU Health say the new study is interesting because it finds you are also less likely to die from, not only heart disease, but other factors, including cancer, if you are healthy. 

The study looked at 12,000 people while their doctors performed a cardiogram. The testers were either on a treadmill or climbed four flights of stairs. Researchers determined the longer you exercise the longer you will live and less likely to die from heart attacks, cancer or other causes. Four flights of stairs are about 55 steps, and the fitness levels were calculated in what’s called METS, or metabolic equivalents.

One MET is the energy it takes for someone to sit in front of a computer. People in the study who could handle 10 METS of treadmill activity were deemed to be high performers on the test or to have good “functional capacity.”

According to Doctor Noel Dasgupta a cardiologist at I.U. Health, you have to reach the top of the four flights in less than one minute. 
“I think people don’t know because most people don’t do any exercise where they are actually trying to get their heart rate up because they think ‘oh I’m walking around all day, and I’m active’, ” said Dasgupta. “What you need to be doing is an activity where you are really getting your heart rate up and your breathless and also doing something where there’s some resistance or going against gravity to see if your fitness level is good.” 

Doctors also found the stair test can give you energy equal to drinking a can of soda. Lastly, if you have good functional capacity you are more likely to survive tough medical treatments, decreasing your chances of dying.

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To read the study, click here.