Still stumped by two answers to your daily crossword? Try walking up two flights of stairs, scientists suggest

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If you’re struggling to finish the crossword or you’re suffering from writer’s block, there may be a simple solution.

New research shows that taking a few minutes to walk up and down just two flights of stairs may be enough to kick-start the cognitive process.

Researchers in Japan found that a quick burst of aerobic exercise by walking up two floors was all it took to boost volunteers’ problem-solving skills.

Taking a break or walking around the block has long been the common advice for anyone trying to avoid a particular problem.

Physical activity circulates blood to the brain, which can help with concentration.

Researchers in Japan found that a quick burst of aerobic exercise by walking up two floors was all it took to boost volunteers' problem-solving skills

Researchers in Japan found that a quick burst of aerobic exercise by walking up two floors was all it took to boost volunteers’ problem-solving skills

But it has never been clear how much exercise is needed to achieve this effect.

A team of scientists from Yamaguchi University in Japan recruited 52 participants in their 20s and gave them each a test to assess their problem-solving skills and their ability to think creatively.

They then split them up and had some take the elevator to eight floors, others to climb all eight floors, and the rest to go up just two flights of stairs.

Then all recruits were given a second series of tests on problems and creative thinking.

The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that those who took the stairs performed much better the second time than those who took the elevator.

And the best results were seen in those who climbed only two flights.

Tests with volunteers climbing eight floors found it was less effective than two, possibly because it was more physically demanding and less enjoyable.

Other studies have found that regularly using the stairs instead of the elevator can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by up to 20 percent.

And a recent study by scientists in South Korea found that just 20 seconds of climbing stairs a few times a week can help obese men and women lose weight and improve their fitness.

In a report on their findings, the Japanese team said: ‘This study highlights the substantial impact of short, very light-intensity physical activity – exemplified by two-stage stair climbing.’

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