Chicago - With
winter weather setting in for the long haul, it's sometimes tough
to get motivated to go to the gym. Dr. Mehmet Oz is well aware of the problem, but
he says Chicagoans actually have an exercise advantage over a lot
of other people in cold climates. Because so many of us live or
work in high rise buildings, all we have to do, he says, is take
our work outs step-by-step, literally.
Both FOX Chicago's
Special Projects reporter Mark Saxenmeyer and meteorologist Amy
Freeze, along with the participants in our year-long health and fitness challenge, decided to heed the good
doctor's advice with a climb to the clouds at the 49-story
Presidential Towers in the South Loop.
There seemed to be a
little friendly competition in the air.
"You cannot beat
me," Freeze responded to Saxenmeyer's challenge. "I guarantee
Then she smiled and
mouthed the words "He's going down!"
"See you at the
top!" Saxenmeyer responded, and with a group shout of, "Go!" they
all began their climb.
Up, up and away. How
hard could stepping up a few stairs really be, right?
"I've never done a
stair climb in my life," said Deb Lawrence, a FOX Chicago viewer
and health and fitness challenge participant. "I've had to walk
down 18 flights in a fire but never up."
This climb all came
about at the suggestion of Dr. Oz, when the quest began to help FOX
staffers and viewers eat right and exercise more nearly one year
"Take these high
rises behind me," Dr. Oz said at Navy Pier last January during a
visit to Chicago. "How many of you work in high rises or buildings
A few health and
fitness challenge participants raised their hands.
"Good!" said the
doctor. "Perfect! So instead of taking the elevator, you take the
steps to work and you've got your steps in. You actually haven't
put it off until the end of the day. You've incorporated it into
Well, it turns out
stepping up a few stairs can indeed be a bit tough.
A few flights in and
the panting began, but the participants kept positive.
"You feel that,
totally," said Lily Borich a FOX Chicago viewer and health and
fitness challenge participant, as she heaved herself upwards.
Freeze, a veteran
stair climber, had warned the group before they started.
"No matter what kind
of shape you're in, if you're in good shape or not so good shape
it's always difficult," Freeze advised. "Climbing stairs puts you
at immediate oxygen deprivation. So anybody over the first couple
of flights you're going to lose your breath. It's natural."
six minutes, 32 seconds," Freeze declared when she reached the top
FOX Chicago News
Senior Web Producer Kirsten Miller finished next, at 7:40.
congratulated her with a high five.
At 11 minutes and 15
seconds Saxenmeyer made it to the 49th floor.
"I would have been
up a lot sooner but I had to wait for her," said Saxenmeyer with a
laugh as he and Borich reached the top.
As the group grew,
they cheered on each new arrival and debriefed each other with
"I'm winded," Freeze
said. "I could feel it in my chest for sure."
"But you're not even
sweating," Saxenmeyer said to her, commenting on her "flawless"
laughed. "I am sweating. It's difficult."
"I felt like a
smoker," Miller said. "My lungs were like, 'ahhhhh'!"
After they were all
done, the group decided once wasn't enough. They considered
repeating the climb.
said. "It feels good!"
So round two began
all the way back on the first floor.
"Oh oh oh put that
down!" Borich said when a FOX photographer found her resting in the
The second time was
a little bit harder. Still, many people improved their time.
Freeze finished in
just 6 minutes and 5 seconds. Miller was not far behind with
"Faster than the
first time," Freeze congratulated her. "Good job!"
In just under nine
minutes Saxenmeyer reached floor 49 for the second time, and just
like each of his fellow climbers was greeted with cheers of
Towers sponsors the "Fight for Air Climb" every March. You can take
the stairs up all 49 stories in all four of the towers to help
raise money for the American Lung Association and of course, get
"All right we did it
and we can check that off the list, and next time we'll climb a
mountain," laughed Saxenmeyer.
Either that, or take