Woman running up steps in urban setting
Even a small amount of running each week is enough to have a drastic impact on your health. Getty Images 

A look at the many benefits of stair-climbing



One day, four colleagues decided that they would climb four flights of stairs, at least twice a day, in an effort to get fit. Only one (not me) had anything resembling a proper workout routine – a personal trainer twice a week and a trip ascending Mount Kilimanjaro the year before (definitely not me). The rest of our motley crew might substitute bad carbs with rice cakes, or go for a walk or swim after work every now and again, but that first day after taking on the stairs, each of us has had the same thing to report: we were all in lower-body hell. By hell, I mean that bittersweet pain after a particularly rigorous or long-overdue workout.

It’s perhaps indicative of just how sedentary most of our lives are that climbing up and down a mere eight floors – which didn’t take us more than five minutes in total – led to aching calves, ramrod thighs and quaking quads. Surely stair-climbing ought to be a movement that registers as regular, even to our desk-bound legs? Turns out not.

“When you climb the stairs, you’re pitting your weight against gravity. The usual angle is 30 to 35 degrees, which is similar to going up a steep hill. This requires more effort and therefore has more benefits,” Dr Vasileios Mitsis, a specialist of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Dubai-based Excellency Center, says.

In fact, walking up stairs qualifies as “moderate to vigorous exercise”, which means it is prudent to warm-up before you start, to prepare the body and reduce the chances of injury, says Mitsis. Neglecting to warm up could be one of the reasons why four reasonably healthy women hobbled in to work on day two. Our bodies are used to moving forwards, not upwards.

Luckily, you can build muscle memory by going vertical whenever possible. Even a few flights a day can help condition your muscles. “It should be noted, however, that the benefits of exercise are lost within a few weeks if you stop. The only way to build and maintain muscle strength and endurance, in the long run, is to keep doing it,” says Mitsis.

Propelling yourself upward using your body weight not only builds leg strength and muscle tone, but also improves bone density and protects against related conditions such as osteoporosis.

Myriad research studies have highlighted the benefits of incorporating stair-climbing into our lives. An ongoing study at Georgia University is comparing two wake-up methods: drinking coffee and climbing the stairs, and initial research suggests that 10 minutes of stair-climbing in the middle of the day boosts energy levels more effectively than a 50mg dose of caffeine.

Another study published this year, by McMaster University, found that short, intense bursts of stair-climbing – 10 minutes, including a warm-up and cool-down – have major benefits for heart health, while Australia’s Edith Cowan University found that the exercise could help protect people against diabetes.

Most experts maintain that injury-free adults who are inactive for most of the day should aim to climb stairs for 10 minutes daily, preceded by a five-minute warm-up that could include walking on flat ground, followed by basic stretches, such as squats and lunges. Once you are comfortable doing 70 minutes a week, add flights until you’ve reached 30 minutes, broken up across the day. You can also try to take the steps two at a time and simultaneously use the railings to pull yourself up, so you also get an upper-body workout in.

The key is to normalise the activity, according to Peter Pastijn, a spinning instructor and co-founder of The Room in Abu Dhabi, who is on the panel of experts for Gulf For Good. The Dubai-based charity regularly organises stair-climbing and tower-running events and races in Dubai’s high-rises, as does Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.

“Adding stair climbs into your daily routine is essential. Avoid lifts wherever possible. If you work in a tall building, make the most of it before, during and after work. Also, find a friend who lives in your apartment block and ask them to join you in using the stairs. For villa dwellers, walk up and down your stairs 10 or 20 times,” says Pastijn.

In addition to the physical, there are also numerous reported mental-health benefits to stair-climbing. This year, researchers at Concordia University studied the brain volumes of people who climbed more stairs daily and found them to have more grey matter, which keeps the brain younger. And while walking down stairs may burn fewer calories than climbing up, it requires your brain to be more alert in order to keep your body balanced and coordinated. This, in turn, improves your motor skills and sharpens your cognitive abilities, as well as making you more observant and receptive to visual information.

“I have trained myself to mentally sort through my to-do list on the stairs. That way I return to my desk with less stress and more clarity,” says Dubai-based advertising executive and avid stair-climber Priya Merchant. While she prefers to go it herself, stair-climbing can be rendered more effective and enjoyable as a group activity. StepJockey, which has a free app that lets you track your stair climbs and record how many calories you’ve burnt, has also found that by turning stair-climbing into a game, people are more motivated to ditch the lift.

Ease of access also gives the activity an edge over other exercise regimes. Stairs are everywhere, they are free to use and don't require high fitness levels. Also, unless you're charging up and down flights of stairs at high speeds for prolonged periods, you won't need a change of clothes, and you can wear most kinds of flat shoes or keep a pair of trainers at the office. As kinesiology professor Patrick O'Connor from UGA puts it: "You may not have time to go for a swim, but you will have 10 minutes to walk up and down the stairs. No sunblock required."

'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse Of Madness'

Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg and Rachel McAdams

Rating: 3/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

The biog

Name: Ayisha Abdulrahman Gareb

Age: 57

From: Kalba

Occupation: Mukrema, though she washes bodies without charge

Favourite things to do: Visiting patients at the hospital and give them the support they need.
Role model: Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.

SHALASH THE IRAQI

Author: Shalash
Translator: Luke Leafgren
Pages: 352
Publisher: And Other Stories

SPECS

Engine: 2-litre direct injection turbo
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Power: 261hp
Torque: 400Nm
Price: From Dh134,999

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
US tops drug cost charts

The study of 13 essential drugs showed costs in the United States were about 300 per cent higher than the global average, followed by Germany at 126 per cent and 122 per cent in the UAE.

Thailand, Kenya and Malaysia were rated as nations with the lowest costs, about 90 per cent cheaper.

In the case of insulin, diabetic patients in the US paid five and a half times the global average, while in the UAE the costs are about 50 per cent higher than the median price of branded and generic drugs.

Some of the costliest drugs worldwide include Lipitor for high cholesterol. 

The study’s price index placed the US at an exorbitant 2,170 per cent higher for Lipitor than the average global price and the UAE at the eighth spot globally with costs 252 per cent higher.

High blood pressure medication Zestril was also more than 2,680 per cent higher in the US and the UAE price was 187 per cent higher than the global price.

Pieces of Her

Stars: Toni Collette, Bella Heathcote, David Wenham, Omari Hardwick  

Director: Minkie Spiro

Rating:2/5

How to wear a kandura

Dos

  • Wear the right fabric for the right season and occasion 
  • Always ask for the dress code if you don’t know
  • Wear a white kandura, white ghutra / shemagh (headwear) and black shoes for work 
  • Wear 100 per cent cotton under the kandura as most fabrics are polyester

Don’ts 

  • Wear hamdania for work, always wear a ghutra and agal 
  • Buy a kandura only based on how it feels; ask questions about the fabric and understand what you are buying
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Sri Lanka Tharanga (c), Mathews, Dickwella (wk), Gunathilaka, Mendis, Kapugedera, Siriwardana, Pushpakumara, Dananjaya, Sandakan, Perera, Hasaranga, Malinga, Chameera, Fernando.

India Kohli (c), Dhawan, Rohit, Rahul, Pandey, Rahane, Jadhav, Dhoni (wk), Pandya, Axar, Kuldeep, Chahal, Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, Thakur.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance: the specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 plus rear-mounted electric motor

Power: 843hp at N/A rpm

Torque: 1470Nm N/A rpm

Transmission: 9-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.6L/100km

On sale: October to December

Price: From Dh875,000+(estimate)

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
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If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Company profile

Name: Tabby
Founded: August 2019; platform went live in February 2020
Founder/CEO: Hosam Arab, co-founder: Daniil Barkalov
Based: Dubai, UAE
Sector: Payments
Size: 40-50 employees
Stage: Series A
Investors: Arbor Ventures, Mubadala Capital, Wamda Capital, STV, Raed Ventures, Global Founders Capital, JIMCO, Global Ventures, Venture Souq, Outliers VC, MSA Capital, HOF and AB Accelerator.

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

'The Batman'

Stars:Robert Pattinson

Director:Matt Reeves

Rating: 5/5

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Top Hundred overseas picks

London Spirit: Kieron Pollard, Riley Meredith

Welsh Fire: Adam Zampa, David Miller, Naseem Shah

Manchester Originals: Andre Russell, Wanindu Hasaranga, Sean Abbott

Northern Superchargers: Dwayne Bravo, Wahab Riaz

Oval Invincibles: Sunil Narine, Rilee Rossouw

Trent Rockets: Colin Munro

Birmingham Phoenix: Matthew Wade, Kane Richardson

Southern Brave: Quinton de Kock

ARABIAN GULF LEAGUE FIXTURES

Thursday, September 21
Al Dahfra v Sharjah (kick-off 5.35pm)
Al Wasl v Emirates (8.30pm)

Friday, September 22
Dibba v Al Jazira (5.25pm)
Al Nasr v Al Wahda (8.30pm)

Saturday, September 23
Hatta v Al Ain (5.25pm)
Ajman v Shabab Al Ahli (8.30pm)

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Director: Wes Ball

Starring: Owen Teague, Freya Allen, Kevin Durand

Rating: 3.5/5

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Director: Robert Lorenz

Starring: Liam Neeson, Kerry Condon, Jack Gleeson, Ciaran Hinds

Rating: 2/5

SPECS

Toyota land Cruiser 2020 5.7L VXR

Engine: 5.7-litre V8

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 362hp

Torque: 530Nm

Price: Dh329,000 (base model 4.0L EXR Dh215,900)

Explainer: Tanween Design Programme

Non-profit arts studio Tashkeel launched this annual initiative with the intention of supporting budding designers in the UAE. This year, three talents were chosen from hundreds of applicants to be a part of the sixth creative development programme. These are architect Abdulla Al Mulla, interior designer Lana El Samman and graphic designer Yara Habib.

The trio have been guided by experts from the industry over the course of nine months, as they developed their own products that merge their unique styles with traditional elements of Emirati design. This includes laboratory sessions, experimental and collaborative practice, investigation of new business models and evaluation.

It is led by British contemporary design project specialist Helen Voce and mentor Kevin Badni, and offers participants access to experts from across the world, including the likes of UK designer Gareth Neal and multidisciplinary designer and entrepreneur, Sheikh Salem Al Qassimi.

The final pieces are being revealed in a worldwide limited-edition release on the first day of Downtown Designs at Dubai Design Week 2019. Tashkeel will be at stand E31 at the exhibition.

Lisa Ball-Lechgar, deputy director of Tashkeel, said: “The diversity and calibre of the applicants this year … is reflective of the dynamic change that the UAE art and design industry is witnessing, with young creators resolute in making their bold design ideas a reality.”

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Scoreline

Syria 1-1 Australia

Syria Al Somah 85'

Australia Kruse 40'

Getting there and where to stay

Fly with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to New York’s JFK. There's 11 flights a week and economy fares start at around Dh5,000.
Stay at The Mark Hotel on the city’s Upper East Side. Overnight stays start from $1395 per night.
Visit NYC Go, the official destination resource for New York City for all the latest events, activites and openings.

POSSIBLE ENGLAND EURO 2020 SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Dean Henderson.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Joe Gomez, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Ben Chilwell, Fabian Delph.
Midfielders: Declan Rice, Harry Winks, Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Forwards: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The Lowdown

Us

Director: Jordan Peele

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseqph, Evan Alex and Elisabeth Moss

Rating: 4/5

Under 19 Cricket World Cup, Asia Qualifier

Fixtures
Friday, April 12, Malaysia v UAE
Saturday, April 13, UAE v Nepal
Monday, April 15, UAE v Kuwait
Tuesday, April 16, UAE v Singapore
Thursday, April 18, UAE v Oman

UAE squad
Aryan Lakra (captain), Aaron Benjamin, Akasha Mohammed, Alishan Sharafu, Anand Kumar, Ansh Tandon, Ashwanth Valthapa, Karthik Meiyappan, Mohammed Faraazuddin, Rishab Mukherjee, Niel Lobo, Osama Hassan, Vritya Aravind, Wasi Shah

Company profile

Company name: amana
Started: 2010
Founders: Karim Farra and Ziad Aboujeb
Based: UAE
Regulator: DFSA
Sector: Financial services
Current number of staff: 85
Investment stage: Self-funded

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors

MATA
Artist: M.I.A
Label: Island
Rating: 3.5/5

We Weren’t Supposed to Survive But We Did

We weren’t supposed to survive but we did.      
We weren’t supposed to remember but we did.              
We weren’t supposed to write but we did.  
We weren’t supposed to fight but we did.              
We weren’t supposed to organise but we did.
We weren’t supposed to rap but we did.        
We weren’t supposed to find allies but we did.
We weren’t supposed to grow communities but we did.        
We weren’t supposed to return but WE ARE.
Amira Sakalla

'The Sky is Everywhere'

Director:Josephine Decker

Stars:Grace Kaufman, Pico Alexander, Jacques Colimon

Rating:2/5


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