While taking the stairs fits neatly under the heading of “simple ways to walk more,” as suggested elsewhere in this series, its benefits are sufficient that it bears some emphasis as a health strategy on its own.
You see, when you climb stairs, you are literally lifting your body weight by about 10 feet per floor. It takes 2-3 times as much energy as walking a similar lateral distance, even at a brisk pace. So, you realize the health benefits in a fraction of the time.
That more than pays for the time you may spend locating the stairs in buildings designed in the last several decades.
By example, and based on average health parameters, a 45-year-old female who weighs 165 pounds can burn an additional 17,000 calories per year simply by taking the stairs instead of the escalator at the train or subway station, and taking the stairs to her fifth floor office twice per day.
In addition, according to data at StepJockey.com, “stair climbing is recommended by doctors and health authorities worldwide because high quality studies show:
It also turns out that once people know where the stairs are and are reminded of the benefits of using them, they are 20-50% more likely to do so. Free signs are available to download here. And here. And here.
Making doing the healthy thing into a game prompts even greater behavior change — by upwards of 500-800%! Here’s a free downloadable Climb Everest challenge undertaken by one workplace, and easily adaptable for others. Designs for similar office challenges abound -- here's another. For loners with iPhones, there's an app that challenges you to climb to the top of famous monuments! (Apparently Android-users need not apply.)
Bonus: the American Institute of Architects has issued guidelines for healthier building design that include the "irresistible staircase." So, look for buildings of the future to offer more visible and inviting stairs.
Bonus II: enjoy people using this musical staircase in Stockholm!
Where did 2015 go? Hopefully, it's been a collection of good times, good friends and a fitter YOU! No matter your fitness right now, though, you can always use a few extras in your toolbox. Or, maybe you're in the process of transforming yourself, and looking for concrete steps to help you reach your goals. We'd like to offer you 30 tips (and a bonus) to assist as we launch ourselves into 2016: