Kimberly Garrison: Climbing stairs can be an easy, free way to get in shape

PSST! PASS this on: Stair-climbing is one of the best ways to strengthen your legs, butt and heart. It's low-impact, and it torches more calories than either walking or jogging.

Best of all - drum roll, please - it's free!

Don't let the tight economy crimp your workout groove. The best things in life are still free, and hitting the steps for 15 to 30 minutes, five to six days a week will not only relieve your stress, but also get you into kick-butt shape. A 150-pound person will burn approximately 300 calories during a 30-minute stair-climbing session. Burning an extra 300 calories daily would equate to a 30-pound weight loss over the course of a year.

So forget about the gym and head to the stairs in your office or apartment. It's that simple. You don't have to run, either. You'd pass out before you got to the ninth floor.

Just climb the stairs at your normal pace and let gravity do the work. That's right, with stair-climbing, you are working against gravity as you carry your weight through space.

It's a challenging workout, too. I've seen many macho men humbled by an old-fashioned stair-climb. It's not for wimps!

In recent years, stair-climbing events have been incorporated into fund-raisers. If you're looking for an opportunity to test your mettle while paying it forward, I invite you to participate in the 26th annual Cystic Fibrosis Climb for Life, which benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Participants race up 53 floors (a vertical half-mile of 1,018 steps) in the Mellon Bank Center at 17th and Market streets. You can compete solo or with a team for the fastest time and the most money raised. This year, the climb takes place Feb. 24. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the fun begins at 9.

For more information, contact the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Delaware Valley at 610-325-6001 or

Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Email her at kimberly@1on1ultimatefitness.

com. Her column appears Wednesdays.