Grand Rapids, MI

Get a Great Workout Climbing the Stairs on Division in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Tracy Stengel

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Two step climbers -- one appears pumped, the other in pain!Photo via The Stairs on Division Facebook Page.

Crisp mornings and warm, sunny days make Autumn an ideal time of year to exercise outdoors. To avoid burn-out, it’s a good idea to change up your workouts every once in a while and focus on different muscle groups. If you are looking for a booty-blasting cardio session, check out the set of stairs in Grand Rapids located at 700 N. Division Avenue.

The adage, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey,” describes climbing the 147 steps of the Stairs on Division because they don’t lead anywhere — just a residential street that ends in a cul-de-sac. But an average person can burn a calorie every ten steps they ascend and a calorie for every twenty steps they descend.

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They make stair climbing appear fun!Photo via The Stairs on Division Facebook Page.

The Stairs on Division are divided by a handrail. There are also side handrails, but there are sections where they are missing, so be careful! Be mindful of etiquette while using the stairs, because everyone is at a different fitness level. In order to avoid injuries, people walk up the steps in the right lane and walk down in the left. If you need to pass someone, pass on the right, allowing the slower person to keep the center handrail within reach.

If you are competitive, Adam Dorband issued a “Stairs at Division Challenge” on YouTube in 2019. He welcomed people to attempt to get in as many “laps” as they could within 20 minutes and post their times. Adam averaged 2 minutes a lap, completing 10 laps plus 44 steps. Can you beat him?

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A good view of the Stairs on Division.Photo via The Stairs on Division Facebook Page.

These stairs are steep and will get your blood pumping. To put the Stairs on Division in context, Rocky Balboa finished up his workout by running up 72 steps before jumping around, fists pumping, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He would have had to run twice as far to get to the top of the Stairs on Division!

Sometimes, using your imagination helps you get through a tough exercise session. If you want to pretend you are walking the 354 steps up to the top of the Statue of Liberty in New York City, make two laps on the Stairs on Division and then walk up 60 steps more.

If you want to visualize yourself on the stairway to the top of the Eiffel Tower, that would be 1665 steps. That’s 11 laps, plus 48 steps of the Stairs on Division. Don’t worry if that is too much for you! In reality, visitors to the Eiffel Tower aren’t allowed past the second-floor observation platform — a mere 674 steps. That’s only 4 laps, plus 86 steps!

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Get social and climb steps in a group!Photo via The Stairs on Division Facebook Page.

For those beasts who love pushing themselves to the max, try traversing 11,674 steps. That’s equal to, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest staircase in the world! It goes up Mount Niesen in the Swiss Alps in Bern, Switzerland. The stairs are only open to the public for the annual Niesen Staircase Race. If you want to mimic the race, make 79 laps of the Stairs on Division, plus 61 steps.

Using the stairs is a great way to get in shape or maintain the shape you’re in. I hope you get a chance to get outside and have some good, healthy fun!

If you’ve used the Stairs on Division in Grand Rapids to reach your fitness goals, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!

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Tracy explores the world with a positive eye, an open heart, and a sprinkling of humor. Without laughter, she would be lost.

Onsted, MI
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