Traversing Hills and Stairs University


By: Domanique Crawford

My heart is beating too fast and as I stop to rest and catch the breath that stutters out of my lungs in heaving gasps, sweat trickles down my face in never ending rivulets. A slight musk mists the air around me, although I could have sworn I put on deodorant before my attempt to ascend campus. And as the sun seems to beam down directly on my forehead I think to myself:

“Why the hell didn’t I know this school was nicknamed Hills and Stairs University?”

During each semester break, without the daily physical excretion that the Humboldt State campus forces students to endure, navigating campus can be physically draining. Returning to school is like returning to an extreme exercise routine after a break for a couple of months. You almost dread going back to the routine because you know that there will be some amount of pain, but you also know the exercise is best for you. These are some tips to get the most out of your campus workout.

Get your energy boost on: Did you know that stair climbing requires eight to nine times more energy expenditure than sitting and burns about seven times more calories than taking an elevator? So if you are utilizing the HSU campus, it is a good idea to power up in the mornings and make sure you are eating the most important meal of the day: breakfast. Also, make sure you are eating or drinking something high energy. Green tea is a great morning drink.

Stretch it out: With any exercise during the first few weeks of adjusting to the exercises, your muscle will feel the burn. Stretch before the hours of navigating the stairs embedded in hills. Climbing stairs are also strenuous on your legs, hips and buttocks, so it’s imperative to prepare your muscles for the upcoming workout by stretching to prevent injury and increase flexibility. 

H2O Hydration: If you think you don’t need to drink to climb stairs, you may find yourself in hot water. Stair climbing is officially classed as a “vigorous exercise” and burns more calories per minute than jogging.

Work them Stairs: They can be daunting, but did you know that you burn about 0.17 calories for every step you climb? So you burn roughly a calorie and a half for every 10 upward steps. You also burn calories going down. Every stair descended burns about 0.05 calories, so you burn 1 calorie for every 20 steps down. Just seven minutes of climbing stairs a day has been estimated to less than half the risk of a heart attack over 10 years. Even if you don’t have sports shoes, stair climbing can be useful. Did you know that you burn more calories climbing stairs in high heels?

Mid-semester starter kit: Must-carry backpack essentials

  • Water Bottle – Though there are numerous vending machines for soda and caffeinated beverages, none of them carry water. Be sure to bring your own bottle if you want to fill up at a hydration station.
  • Sweatband – If you want to keep your makeup looking flawless or just don’t want sweat coating your face, try wearing a sweatband while traveling between classrooms. 
  • Energy Snack – Keep that energy up. A series of small snacks will help stave off that midday slump.

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