The First Challenge of 2015 – Stepping It Up In Paris

Well bonjour to you all and welcome to my little bit of insanity! I’ll own up, I’m just a little excited! Firstly to find you here and ready to join me in my quest to get fitter and secondly, you must have read my article “My New Year’s Resolution”! Thank you! I just know that together we are going to have a great time!

So what is our first challenge? Remember from my previous article I mentioned 2 things (well there was a lot of things – it was a really great article – but 2 main things). Firstly that the exercises needed to be done in 20 minutes and that I have a passion for France and Paris. So to satisfy that passion our first challenge will involve the most recognized icons of Paris. You know the ones I mean. The Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and the Arc de Triomphe, all of which have a ridiculous number of steps. So what better challenge than to climb those icons. Yep you guessed it – Step-Ups! Lots and lots of step-ups that are sure to increase our cardiovascular fitness and as an added bonus tone up our legs and buttock (thumbs up to the bonus I say).

Okay so now it’s time for a little house keeping. So first things first, what are you going to use? Most people have a step going into, out of or in their home. I’m one of those lucky people so I’m sorted. If you are not one of these and live in Adelaide then you are probably lucky enough to live within 5 minutes walk of a park. Got to love Adelaide! If that doesn’t work then you could use your neighbour’s step (if they are willing and have one of course) or in desperation you could use your front curb. This of course will give your neighbours and passing traffic a voyeuristic thrill so don’t use if you are shy or if your road is busy i.e. has more than 1 car every 10 minutes travelling down it. On second thoughts DO NOT use your curb – I’m not turning this into an Extreme Sport people! Finally if you don’t want to head off your own property and are stepless then you need to use something solid that can take your weight repetitively and is wider than your shoulders, deeper than the length of your shoes and approx. 200 – 300mm high. Remember it needs to be strong. Don’t email me to say that you’ve hurt yourself because the cardboard box stuffed with last year’s used Christmas paper collapsed in the middle of a set of exercises! I have attached an image of a professional step to give you an idea of what you need and if you don’t have anything suitable at home you can purchase these on line or at any sporting store and they are a much more safe and plausible option.

Okay, now that your equipment is sorted the next step is to work through how to do a step-up. Oh stop laughing, there is more to a step-up than stepping up (oh that even sounds ridiculous to me and just so you know I’m not about to burst into some funk dance move – that will make sense to parents of young teens).

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 12.05.07 pmRight, to begin with, stand in front of your step. Stand tall and tighten your stomach muscles. Start by placing your left foot onto the step then bring your right foot up to be beside it. Look straight ahead while you are doing this, not at the step. Now take your left foot back to the floor and follow by lowering your right foot. Phase 1 complete. Now place your right foot onto the step then bring your left foot up to be beside it and then lower your right foot to the floor and follow with your left foot. Phase 2 complete. So your feet have stepped in the rhythm of Left, Right, Left, Right then Right, Left, Right and Left (Yep I hear you say it “We’ve got rhythm!”). By combining Phase 1 and 2 together it means that we use both legs equally during the exercise and are therefore less likely to cause repetitive injury to one ankle or knee. Remember while you are doing this to stand tall, keep your stomach muscles tightened and look straight ahead, not down. And that, my friends, is how you do step-ups. Easy isn’t it (applaud now).

Having mastered the fine art of step-ups (and I am very proud of you) we are now ready to unveil the programme. I would do it with a big brass band and streamers but I feel it would lose some of its impact on the computer so I’ll just tell you.

Ok so I have researched the number of steps on each of our recognized Parisian icons (the beauty of the internet) and they are as follows:

  • The Eiffel Tower which has 704 steps to its 2nd floor;
  • Notre Dame which has 387 steps to the top of it’s south tower; and
  • The Arc de Triomphe which has 284 steps to its top (and a great view).

This gives us a total of 1375 steps!

I have broken our programme into 4 weeks with 5 days of activity in each week (we all need a rest). And so our programme will look like this:

  • Week 1: 40 step-ups per day for 5 days
  • Week 2: 60 step-ups per day for 5 days
  • Week 3: 75 step-ups per day for 5 days
  • Week 4: 100 step-ups per day for 5 days.

Now some of you will find this too easy so you can double the number of step-ups or you can increase the challenge by carrying a weight or increasing the height of your step (remember to be careful). I am intending to carry a 1 or 2kg weight in each hand as I do the step-up, just to increase the cardiovascular load without having to increase the time it takes to do the exercises.

Speaking of time, do you remember I mentioned that the exercises needed to be done in 20 minutes? Well this little set will not take you anywhere near that so I am going to factor in a 15 minute walk each day (just around my block) to help challenge my fitness. Remember, besides all the frivolity in this article, this is what it is really about – increasing our fitness, so a 15 minute walk doesn’t seem too unreasonable to achieve this goal. Also, as this is only a 5 day programme and there are 7 days in a week (yep told you I was clever) I am going to break my programme in the middle rather than do it Monday to Friday but you can do it anyway that makes it the most convenient for you (as long as you take rest days).


So there you have it. My little plan! I hope you like it and are going to step on board (a little pun intended). Remember, however, before you commence you need to make sure that you are capable of taking on the challenge so please consult a health care professional, just to make sure, or if you are a patient or near our clinic then make an appointment and we can run through your overall capacity to perform the exercises and adapt them if you have any underlying injuries such as arthritic knees. It’s always better to be safe than sorry as my mum used to say.

Okay all, enough Chatter (or reading in your case). It’s time to get going! Remember to keep me posted on how you are doing or get in touch if you need help or want advice. I look forward to seeing you next month when we are all a little bit fitter and ready for our next challenge.

And thanks for getting French connected with me.


Happiness in Health



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  • Graeme Smith Posted 8 January, 2015 7:22 am

    Hi Lorraine,
    You’ve got me on the first challenge. Without wishing to make you too envious, I’ll also be doing the real thing in Paris in August, so this seems like a great practice run. I do get regular step exercise — there are 12 down to my cellar and the vin rouge!

    • Dr Lorraine Scarr B.Sc., M.Chiro Posted 8 January, 2015 12:16 pm

      Glad to have you on board Graeme and I promise not to be too jealous about the trip but not about the vin rouge!

  • Pauline Zervas Posted 8 January, 2015 12:10 pm

    Hi Lorraine,
    What an awesome plan, love it! I did Paris in July last year and you are right so so so many steps. I start tomorrow! Cant wait.

    • Dr Lorraine Scarr B.Sc., M.Chiro Posted 8 January, 2015 12:15 pm

      That’s Terrific Pauline! Look forward to sharing the journey!

  • Donna Posted 12 January, 2015 1:24 am

    Love your thoughts – Paris sounds wonderful- I have started to watch what I eat and will put the plan into action as soon as I finish the small box of yummy biscuits left to me by a client. We have steps out the back @ home so I will start using them soon. Want to get my health in shape. Life is too short to muck around and you never know when it is your turn. “seize the moment” before it is too late. Best wishes Donna xx

    • Dr Lorraine Scarr B.Sc., M.Chiro Posted 12 January, 2015 2:06 am

      Enjoy the biscuits Donna and welcome to the little challenge.

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