Just over 52 flights of stairs is equal to the distance of one mile. However, climbing stairs is twice as much exercise as walking on a flat surface. Within the same amount of time, slowly climbing stairs burns two to three times as many calories as walking quickly on a flat surface.
When walking, a mile contains about 2,000 steps. A standard flight of stairs has 10 steps. Going up a flight is about the same as walking 38 paces on a flat surface because the upward motion requires more effort. A Harvard study determined that men who averaged climbing eight flights of stairs a day had a lower death rate than men who averaged a daily 1.3-mile walk.