School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science | October 8, 2012 | Spotlight

Two kinesiology teams conquer the tower

CSULA students, faculty members stair climb to support YMCA programs

U.S. Bank Tower. (Photo by Beatrice Yorker.)

Stair climbing tips

From Steve Gonzalez:

“Think about the last time you had to climb at least three flights of stairs. You were probably a little winded by the time you got to the third floor.

Since stair climbing is a weight-bearing exercise, it has the potential to burn more calories than cycling or swimming at a comparable pace. You have to lift your entire body from one step to the next with every single step.

Stair climbing is a great form of exercise for developing cardiovascular fitness. A study published in the 2005 British Journal of Sports Medicine found that a regular stair-climbing routine increased efficiency of oxygen use and lowered levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol within eight weeks.

For those interested in getting into stair climbing, my advice is to start slowly until you get a good idea on how your body reacts to the intensity, then increase your intensity gradually.

If you have a cardiovascular condition or are new to exercise, consult your doctor before beginning this type of exercise routine.

Stair climbing requires no special skills or training, just a few flights of stairs and the desire to push oneself to his/her potential. All goals are achieved by taking one step at a time, so remember: ‘There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.’ Happy climbing!”

Check out video clip of CSULA faculty team at the end of the climb:

Find out more at the following links:

* Ketchum-Downtown YMCA’s Stair Climb for Los Angeles:

* Stair Climb race results:

* School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science at CSULA:

* College of the Health and Human Services at CSULA:

Photo of CSULA kinesiology teams. (Photo by Beatrice Yorker.)
Representing Cal State L.A.’s School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science at the Ketchum-Downtown YMCA’s Stair Climb for Los Angeles were (l-r) Salvador Sahagun, Yohanny Orellana, Emilio Villavicencio, Carolina Villagomez, Steve Gonzalez, Eddie Leon, Christine Dy and Andy Cornwell.

Embracing F.X. Toole’s quote, “The higher you climb, the wider the horizon,” every step of the way, Cal State L.A.’s kinesiology major Emilio Villavicencio recently raced to the top of the 75-story U.S. Bank Tower in downtown L.A. as part the Ketchum-Downtown YMCA’s Stair Climb for Los Angeles.

Villavicencio, along with three students and four faculty members from the School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science at CSULA, climbed nearly 1,700 stairs to benefit YMCA’s programs for children, teens, families and seniors in the surrounding downtown community.

The Ketchum-Downtown YMCA is a non-profit organization committed to helping individuals live a balanced, healthy life in spirit, mind and body. It offers sports programs, after-school child care, and other community and health programs.

Villavicencio, whose focus is on rehabilitation and therapeutic exercise, participated in the YMCA fundraiser to challenge and inspire both himself and others.

“It was a great opportunity to get involved in the school and community,” Villavicencio explained. “As a future health care professional, I believe it is very important to live an active and healthy lifestyle. I finished the stair run in 16:35 and I am looking forward to beating my time next year.”

His team members included fellow students Salvador Sahagun, Yohanny Orellana, and Carolina Villagomez.

Photo of YMCA banner displayed at the entrance of the U.S. Bank Tower. (Photo by Beatrice Yorker.)
Professor Andy Cornwell entering the doors of the U.S. Bank Tower. He completed the ascent in 17 minutes and 46 seconds.

Villagomez, a kinesiology major, said, “I was inspired to do the stair climb because it seemed interesting and different to what I usually do, which is running. I am an active person and the stair climb was an amazing experience.”

More than 3,000 people participated, along with local firefighters, police officers, rangers, highway patrol and other public safety personnel, to conquer one of the tallest buildings in the U.S. west of the Mississippi. YMCA’s goal was to raise $500,000 this year.

The other CSULA team was comprised of faculty members Andy Cornwell, Christine Dy, Steve Gonzalez, and Eddie Leon.

“I was honored to be asked by the College of Health and Human Services Dean Beatrice Yorker to participate and represent the College as well as the University in the YMCA Stair Climb to run to the top of the U.S. Bank,” said Gonzalez. “I felt my performance was good and was close to finishing the run in under 18 minutes. It was an invigorating experience. I look forward to participating in this event again in the future.”

Dy shared that participating in this event to raise funds for the YMCA brought back a lot of good memories. She said, “I remember my mom dropping me off at the local Y to learn swimming and gymnastics when I was a kid.”

Reflecting on her quest to conquer the tower, Dy recalled just before entering the stairwell that there was a DJ blasting music and people were dancing and cheering.

She noted: “I ran up the first few flights feeling amped. However, right around the 20th floor, I felt my heart pounding and the air in the stairwell getting thin. From that point on, it was really just one foot after another and sheer mental determination to get to the top. But, at the top, you feel exhilarated!”

Cornwell, a life-long practitioner of fitness training, indicated that he has always enjoyed the challenge of pushing one’s body to the limits of its physical capacity.

“As I knew the stair climb to the top of the U.S. Bank Tower would provide a unique but fun challenge both physically and mentally, I wanted to see if I could rise to the occasion—literally!” said Cornwell. “Moreover, it was satisfying to represent Cal State L.A. in an event that promoted the importance of physical activity for optimal health and wellness whilst simultaneously raising funds for a worthy cause... I was pleased with my performance as I had nothing left to give except for a fist pump, once I had reached the summit!”