I was in the gym today and a (bro-science) trainer told me that I shouldn't use the stair climbing machine because it causes abnormal heart enlargement and associated heart diseases. I asked him for a resource and he said he saw is on Facebook but other trainers vouched for that and said they had heard it too.

I couldn't find any resource for this. The only thing I could find is Heart.org saying:

Most physicians will advise caution to a patient with an enlarged aorta (the major artery in the body). (An enlarged aorta can occur in people with Marfan syndrome, Turner syndrome, coarctation of the aorta, or a bicuspid aortic valve.) There is no proven link between exercise and harmful outcome from an enlarged aorta

Is there absolutely any link between stair climbing and heart disease?

  • top 5 results are news/health websites that stating that stair climbing lowers risk of heart disease, livestrong.com/article/… stepjockey.com/stair-climbing-benefits Thinking these guys may have misread it.
    – Himarm
    Jun 5, 2015 at 16:13
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    Does a negative correlation count? Jun 5, 2015 at 17:44
  • My flag as not notable was declined, but I think it's worth saying anyway that something a trainer at the gym said is not a notable claim. Furthermore, without some specifics as to how or why using the stairmaster could cause heart enlargement etc., it's not likely that anyone's going to come up with an answer better than "exercise is good for you". Jun 5, 2015 at 21:35
  • @iamnotmaynard yeah thats what i was trying to point out, the claim in general media is actually that stair climing is good for your heart, so this random trainers claim has no basis in even pop media.
    – Himarm
    Jun 5, 2015 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


Stair climbing machine is pretty intense cardio exercise, but still not even remotely as intense as running a marathon, playing an ice hockey game, or playing a soccer game in hot weather. Yet those people are alive and well.

All of them have enlarged hearts.

Athletic heart syndrome - common in athletes who routinely exercise more than an hour a day - is a benign condition. Athlete's heart is a normal, physiological adaptation of the body to the stresses of physical conditioning and aerobic exercise.

So, yes, your heart will likely get enlarged and your heartbeat will slow down if you workout regularly. And no, it's not a condition but a normal adaptation to the stresses of the aerobic exercies. In fact, it's what you wanted to achieve in the first place.

Now this is where we get to the point. Your instructor is mixing apples and organges. Enlarged heart, through exercise, is expected and normal. Enlarged heart through other causes indicates a serious condition. For example, you might have sickle cell disease.

In other words, if you use the stair climbing machine and your heart gets enlarged, that's normal. And it will stop there. You won't develop an "associated condition".

Sources: Wikipedia, college biology classes, common sense & years of pro training. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athletic_heart_syndrome http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiomegaly

  • 2
    Welcome, on this site we have a strict reference policy. Read our intro and correct your answer - thank you.
    – Sklivvz
    Jun 7, 2015 at 23:15

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