Heavy Meal

9/11 Memorial Stair Climb: Honoring our fallen firefighters

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – It has been 20 years since the September 11 attacks. Across the country, people are finding ways to honor the victims and reflect on the day.

In that attack, 343 FDNY firefighters selflessly gave their lives in the World Trade Centers. Our health expert, Karen Owoc, is here with a way to never forget our fallen firefighters and to benefit our health as well.

The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb

• 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb is a way to never forget one of the most tragic days in American history and to honor the 343 FDNY firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11 in the World Trade Centers.

• Thousands of first responders around the country participate in 9/11 Stair Climbs.

• They climb 110 flights (or 2,200 steps), which symbolizes the heroic as-cent that FDNY firefighters took on Sept. 11, 2001.

• The Stair Climbs are NOT timed race events.

The Goal of the Stair Climb

• To complete the Fallen Firefighters’ journey through dedication, training and physical fitness.

How heavy was the 9/11 firefighters’ gear?

The firefighters that climbed the twin towers that day were carrying upwards of 100 pounds, such as:

• Helmet, boots, coats, pants, gloves, extra air bottles

• Ax, radio, and extra flashlights, and possibly a thermal imaging camera

How to Participate

Raised to date: $65,053.14 (goal: $75,000)

• You can donate to a climber, team or team member OR

• You can register as an individual climber, team captain, or team member ($50, age 13 & older)

• All participants receive an event t-shirt.

Live Stair Climbs

• No local Northern California live events, but you can host one. 9/11 Stair Climbs are coordinated by local volunteers.

• Currently, the only California event is near San Diego (Imperial, CA).

• Live events in WA, PA, TX, NY, MO, DC

Be a a virtual stair climb, vrtual bike rider ($35 registration fee) or supporter ($50)

• If you can’t attend an event in person, you can participate virtually. Be sure to complete the activity between Sept 11 and Oct 31.

• A “supporter” is someone may not be able to physically complete the stair climb, but can provide support for a buddy who is climbing.

• You can stair climb 110 flights (about 2 miles). Climb in places like in a gym on a stair climbing machine or stadium bleacher or at home.

• You can run or walk 9.11 km (5.66 miles)

• You can bike ride 3.43 miles.

• Participants get an event T-shirt.

NOTE: Stair Master, an iconic brand of stair climbing fitness equipment, has a virtual team that’s accepting members.

How long does it take to walk up 110 flights of stairs?

• An average of two hours


nationalstairclimb.org (the official FDNY National Stair Climb in partnership with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation).

Stair Climb for your Health

Stair climbing improves cardiorespiratory fitness. It is officially classed as a

“vigorous” form of exercise.

Stair climbing is a more POWERFUL form of walking because it:

• Requires you to pull your weight against gravity.

• Requires more effort which means you accrue health benefits more rapidly.

• Burns 2-3X more energy (even at a slow pace) than walking on a flat surface at a brisk pace.

How to Reduce Mortality and Stop Middle-Age Weight Gain

• Climbers: Men that climb 8 or more flights/day decrease death rate by 33% compared to sedentary men. (Harvard Alumni Study)

• Walkers: Men that walk 1.3 miles/day decrease death rate by 22%.

• Climb an extra 2 minutes/day — Studies show it can help stop middle-age weight gain.

• Climb 33 flights/day — Walking regularly up 33 flights (about 400 steps) can increase endurance 17%. (British Journal of Sports Medicine)

Why Walking Down Stairs Can Be More Difficult

For some people with knee issues, walking DOWN stairs may be more challeng-ing. That’s because when going down stairs, requires greater knee flexion.

How to Climb Stairs Safely

Don’t attempt to charge up several long flights of stairs without a warm-up and when you’re not in condition yet.

• Start at a slow, steady pace.

• Begin with just a flight or two.

• Add more flights as you improve.

• Take the stairs whenever possible.

• Wear comfortable shoes. Avoid wearing heels.

• If you have a long climb, walk part way, then switch to an elevator.

• Use the railing for balance (especially going down) BUT try not to use your arms to “hoist you up” the stairs.

• Like any strenuous exercise, don’t attempt the stairs if you don’t feel well or after eating a heavy meal.