Stair climbing isn't just a means of getting from one floor to another, it's also a solid form of exercise. According to Duke University's human resources webpage, stair climbing can help you lose weight, reduce your bad cholesterol and help you build strong muscles, bones and joints. It's also an excellent calorie burner. The number of calories that you burn climbing stairs will depend on the type of stair climbing you do and your weight.
Walking up stairs is more difficult than walking on flat terrain, so it should be no surprise that it's a good calorie burner. If you weigh 130 pounds, you can expect to burn about 413 calories per hour of stair walking. A 160-pound person will burn even more, at around 508 calories per hour. If you weigh 190 pounds, you can expect to burn in the area of 606 calories per hour.
Running up stairs is a significantly more difficult way to climb them, and it burns a lot more calories than merely walking up stairs. If you weigh 130 pounds, you'll burn about 826 calories in an hour of stair running. If you weigh 160 pounds, this will increase to about 1,005 calories. At 190 pounds, you'll manage to burn around 1,211 calories per hour.
Step machines provide the exercise of stair climbing without the inconvenience that actual stair climbing can pose to those around you. You can vary the intensity of a step machine to affect the calorie burn. At an easy pace, a 130-pound person will burn 360 calories per hour on the step machine, but at a high intensity this increases to 543 calories. A 160-pound person will burn 442 calories at the easy end of the spectrum and 667 calories at a high intensity. For a 190-pound person, the range is between 528 and 796 calories per hour.
Another option if you'd rather work out in the gym than on actual stairs is to use a stair treadmill, or stair climber. Climbing a stair treadmill for an hour burns about 472 calories if you weigh 130 pounds. If you weigh 160 pounds, you can expect to burn closer to 580 calories per hour. For a 190-pound individual, the stair treadmill burns even more at about 692 calories per hour.