While it might seem to some people like one step forward and two steps back, Allen Rams says his stair-walking method is very good advice.
“Walking down the stairs backwards is much easier on your knees,” advises the frequent user of the Chedoke escarpment stairs.
“It’s a different motion; there’s no pressure going down.”
Rams, 76, started using the stairs as part of his exercise regimen nearly four years ago.
He says the walking backwards advice is one of two tips he gives people about stair climbing. The other is, after seeing someone running up the steps is to remind them of the pounding they are putting their knees through — and advise them of a good orthopedic doctor.
The Chedoke stairs are about one-sixth the height of the Eiffel Tower, says Rams. He figures he has climbed the equivalent now of about 330 trips up the Paris icon.
Along with his hundreds of trips up and down the stairs, he says he’s logged about 1,500 miles walking streets on the west Mountain and the Radial Trail.
He heads out before sunrise to get his exercise done before the heat and humidity of the day sets in.
“It’s harder to breathe the moist air in than when it’s nice and dry,” says Rams.
It’s also beautiful in the morning with the sun’s rays starting to poke through the trees.
He adds that he likes to be social and chat with other walkers and has made many friends, but many people prefer to listen to music pumped into their ears while they focus on the task at hand.
Rams, a semi-retired contractor, says protecting his knees as he does allows he and his wife to walk all day, a favourite pastime, when they go on vacation.
“We just like to walk.”