Health and Fitness: Hitting the stairs can be beneficial in a training program

FOCUSED: Charlestown's Lyndsay Walker set himself the challenge of walking the stairs at Merewether ocean baths for 12 hours on Saturday with the goal of making 50,000 steps. Picture: Marina Neil
FOCUSED: Charlestown's Lyndsay Walker set himself the challenge of walking the stairs at Merewether ocean baths for 12 hours on Saturday with the goal of making 50,000 steps. Picture: Marina Neil

Last week I proposed my idea for a Newy hot lap on foot during future Supercars weekends.

I thought this might even pair well with a stair climb challenge of the Queen’s Wharf Brewery Tower.

I am not sure how many steps are in it but I am sure plenty of people would have taken on the challenge as stair climbing events have become popular all over the world.

But news last week that the 30-metre tall tower at Queen’s Wharf would be demolished has certainly put paid to that.

There is however still the option of travelling to Sydney in August next year for the Sydney Tower Eye which is part of the World Vertical Circuit (yes, that is a thing).

In total competitors must scale 1504 steps to reach the top.

One man who would no doubt be up to the challenge would be former professional cricketer Lyndsay Walker if his efforts at Merewether on Saturday are anything to go by.

On Saturday, the Charlestown 43-year-old walked the stairs at Merewether’s ocean baths for nearly 12 hours straight.

It was in the name of charity, raising funds and awareness for not-for-profit organisation Soldier On, which helps ex-servicemen and women reintegrate into society.

He started at 4.40am with a goal of reaching 50,000. Three hours in when I stopped by he was well past 20,000 steps and getting plenty of support from passers by.

Lyndsay admitted the latter stages “hurt” but he ended up climbing continuously until just after 2pm, clocking 52,000 steps, according to his Fitbit. 

The support he received throughout is one of the things I love about exercising outdoors.

More often than not you will cross paths with someone else, offer each other a bit of encouragement in the form of a few words or even just an empathetic nod of the head, and feel a sense community engagement.

We are lucky in Newcastle as we are spoiled for choice when it comes to places to do a good stair session.

The stairs up to Anzac Memorial Bridge are a challenge and the stairs which start from just above the Bogey Hole in King Edward Park and wind up to the fort at the top are brutal.

OPTIONS: There is no shortage of places around Newcastle that you can incorporate stairs into your workout to make it more challenging.

OPTIONS: There is no shortage of places around Newcastle that you can incorporate stairs into your workout to make it more challenging.

Foreshore park overlooking Newcastle harbour has the half-circle steps which work well in fitness sessions.

You can walk them or run them and still get a good work out. You engage various muscles, so it is great for building strength and toning, and it also works your cardiovascular system.

Here are three stairs sessions to try:

  • 5 squats, 5 push-ups, 5 rows, 5 dead lifts, 5 biceps-shoulder, 5 triceps. 2-5 minutes of stairs.
  • Straight stairs. Set a goal and go up and down until said goal is achieved.
  • A hardcore stair session would be: 10 squat jumps, 5 burpees, 4 sets of stairs. Repeat for a set time.

So, there are still plenty of stair options around, despite plans for the city’s tower to come down.

SIZZLING SUMMER SESSIONS

The beach is the perfect place to work out in summer, just make sure you do your session earlier or later in the day to avoid overheating yourself. 

Workout: Part 1: 10 squats, 10 bent-over or horizontal rows with dumbbells or a band, 10 forward bear crawls, 10 lunges, 10 push-ups, 10 backward bear crawls. Complete three sets through continuous then have a short rest. Part 2: 15 minutes of walk-jog-sprint along the beach. Adjust this to suit your level of fitness but an example would be 60 seconds walking, 60 seconds jogging, 30 seconds sprint. Part 3: 10 glute bridge, 20 ab rotation with hand weights. Repeat twice.

UPCOMING FITNESS EVENTS

Variety Xmas Walk Newcastle, December 10, Speers Point Park: A 5km walk to support kids living with a disability this Christmas. variety.org.au.

Nobbys to Newcastle Ocean Swim, Nobbys beach, January 27: A 2km ocean swim from Nobbys to Newcastle beach. oceanfit.com.au/event/nobbys-newcastle-ocean-swim.

Sparke Helmore Newcastle City Triathlon, Newcastle Foreshore, February 25: This event was 12 weeks away yesterday, providing the perfect new year challenge. There is plenty of time to get training and events cater for the novice to the diehard. newcastlecitytriathlon.com.au.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother. r.valentine@fairfaxmedia.com.au.