Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Moser Column: Get the most out of your workout: climb stairs

This week's Moser column features the April 28th Fight for Air Stair Climb and advocacy corner features bike/ped safety.

Dan Moser
Nothing beats stair climbing when it comes to calories burned for the time expended. Other than using a stair machine, there aren’t many opportunities to climb more than a few stories before having to descend and climb again, thereby reducing the efficiency of a workout. But you’re in luck because, as they have for the past five years, the American Lung Association is again conducting its signature event, Fight for Air Stair Climb, at High Point Place, overlooking the river in downtown Fort Myers on Saturday, April 28.
Don’t be scared off, as too many otherwise active folks who enjoy running or walking 5Ks and other similar events apparently have been, at least from comments I hear. There’s a misperception that climbing 30 stories is too difficult and beyond the average person’s ability, not to mention that it takes too long. In reality, this undertaking is as hard as you make it; the efficiency of ascending stairs is high due primarily to the effects of gravity. Currently, the record time for the 30-story High Point Place climb is 2 minutes and 24 seconds, which is indeed very fast and was set by a top-notch runner who probably competes in 5Ks (3.1 miles) in less than 15 or 16 minutes, which is also quite speedy. But the average time for this 541-step climb is somewhere in the 8-minute range, which would approximate a 35-45 minute 5K, a time that the majority of participants can handle, including walkers. So if you’ve been thinking of taking part in this or any other Fight for Air Stair Climb around the country but consider it way too difficult, put it in the perspective of a 5K and reconsider. Besides, you’ll have fun at High Point’s post-event pool-deck party, plus you’ll walk away with a real sense of accomplishment for both your physical feat and financial contribution to lung disease research.
 An all too common sight — isn’t that an ashtray next to the bench? An all too common sight — isn’t that an ashtray next to the bench?Staying on the topic of lung disease, tobacco use is but one of the causes. There are many non-smokers who are victims of one or another of the numerous lung-related afflictions, which include everything from asthma to pneumonia to tuberculosis. But for smokers, there is certainly a significant chance of acquiring a lung disease because of tobacco use. For those who are stuck on tobacco, engaging in regular aerobic activity is a good way to become convinced that quitting will make the activity of choice that much easier (or even possible, in many cases). Participating in the Fight for Air Stair Climb challenge could be the first step to making this positive change happen.
Another good reason for quitting tobacco use, particularly smoking, is the positive effects it’ll have on our environment in terms of reducing litter that’s created by tossed butts and discarded empty cigarette packs, something that’s totally out of control. What is it that makes so many of those who smoke feel it’s OK to make the world their personal ashtray? Whether you decide to quit or not, refrain from engaging in the antisocial behavior of littering.
Advocacy matters
Considering how many traffic-related deaths and injuries our area experiences — well above the national and state averages, with around a quarter of them being pedestrians and bicyclists, a proportion that’s almost double what it is nationally — it’s about time we took this epidemic seriously. Those who design and build our roads, make transportation-related policy and enforce traffic laws are always working on this persistent problem, with the latter group becoming more engaged than ever. But those who matter most — we road users — don’t seem to be getting the message or are choosing to ignore it, thus the pain, suffering and expense of having one of the worse traffic safety records in the country continues. Check BikeWalkLee’s blog ( to see what’s happening in our area as it relates to efforts to reduce death and injury on our roads. And vow to become part of the solution by behaving responsibly when on our roads.
A correction
Loretta Purish, retiring North Fort Myers track and cross country teams coach who I featured in my last column, spent almost 40 years — not 30 — in the school district, a public-service run that’s as impressive as her positive impact on so many has been. Sorry for short-changing you, Loretta.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails.
Dan Moser is CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and program director for Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at or 334- 6417.
Upcoming Events
>> Scopes for Hope 5K, Saturday,
March 29, Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers,
>> Fast and Furriest 5K / 1-M Walk,
Saturday, March 29, Coconut Point mall,
Estero (
>> African Aid 5K, Saturday, April 12,
New Hope Church, Fort Myers
Cycling & Other Events:
>> Legacy Trail Tour de Parks Ride,
Sunday, March 23, Venice to Sarasota
>> Fight For Air Stair Climb, Saturday,
April 26, High Point Place, downtown
Fort Myers (


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