Shortened breath, on stairs, two steaps at a time. Concern?

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Shortened breath, on stairs, two steaps at a time. Concern?

#1 Postby 9nines » Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:02 am

Why would walking up three stairs cause breath shortened, if more lengthy exercises did not?

I am 38, fairly lean (5-8, 148 pounds). Each week, I lift weights 2 to 3 hours, 1.5 hours of cardiovascular exercise (pulse ranging from 125 to 160, depending on session) and walk about 3 to 4 hours.

I can run a long time, without being tired (after 4 to 6 miles, I quit from boredom but I am not tired.)

The problem: walking up three flights of stairs, taking two steps at a time ( I do this about 6+ times a day, at work, going to another floor), slightly takes me out of breath (enough that I have to pause to catch my breath, if talking to someone, within a minute of walking up the stairs.) I am not huffing-and-puffing (never had that even after running 5 miles) but I am breathing more rapidly and as I wrote, can not maintain an even conversation (must pause to get air) for about 1 minute or so afterwards - it is not that big-of-a-deal but since I seem to in very good I am shape, I am confused about it (it is only three flights.) If I only take one step at a time, this is not the case (I have normal breathing then.)

It is not a new situation; I have always had this on stairs, if I take two steps at a time.

Also, even when running or using an elliptical machine, my breath does not seem as short, even with a pulse around 160.

Is it normal or a concern? Does it indicate anything?

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#2 Postby wannalift » Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:50 am

i know what you are taking about. this happened to me too even when i was in great cardio shape (not any more). first off stairs are way way harder than running on a flat surface. check out how many calories you are burning when you compare the two. actually you could just see how much more physical work you are doing on the stairs (force x distance).

two steps at a time is the way to do it because you recruit more of your hamstrings, but you can also shorten your breath (and keep yourself from breating with your stomach) by kicking your legs up towards your abdomen.

strairs are tough. you need to train specifically to be good at them. there isn't as much carryover as you would think from other cardio unless you do a lot of sprinting.


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#3 Postby Kathryn » Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:02 pm

Stairclimbiing is tough, even tougher than using a step machine, IMO.

I've had young male college students go upstairs with me, and they are huffing and puffing a bit at the top.

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#4 Postby Phoenix » Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:45 pm

I think the other contributing thing is the poor air quality in stairs as well. When we have our fire escape training I notice that the stairs are always poorly ventilated :x
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#5 Postby 9nines » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:23 pm


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#6 Postby Hero » Fri Jan 13, 2006 4:16 pm

im always out of breath when climbing steps. i also take two steps at a time.

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