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Do you take the stairs?

I mean, most of us use stairs at some point, usually because we have to.  But when faced with a choice between climbing stairs and cruising on the elevator, which way do you go?

As we’re about to launch a Take the Stairs campaign in our own building, I’m wondering what actually gets people to use the other door and work their way up to their floor. 

First things first. I am NOT a fast stair climber, especially when there’s about 6 flights of stairs involved. Plus, I seem to get more out of breath than any normal human being should once I’ve reached my floor. But whatever – I took the stairs, so I get to be proud of my loud mouth breathing.

I used to have to make a conscious decision to choose the stairs, otherwise I’d forget and take the elevator out of habit. The more I chose the stairs, the less I had to think about the decision when I walked through the front door. And once I’m climbing, I try to treat every step as a lunge and imagine my thighs getting stronger and stronger. Sometimes, for extra motivation, I use the stairs as a “trade off” if I know I won’t be going to the gym that day. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt to see someone in the elevator line that you want to avoid a conversation with, am I right? But, since most people tend to be less awkward in social situations than me, that may be a less motivating factor for others.

I read this article that says putting up signs in the lobbies of New York City buildings actually got people to use the stairs more. This makes me wonder if that’s all it takes – a simple sign to remind you why you should take the stairs.

Calorie-stairsI also came across the idea of labeling each step with a calorie count, so people can see how many calories (or what percentage of a calorie) they burn with each step they take. Personally, this is a concept that would definitely work for me.

I remember seeing this awesome video about piano stairs, where a musical piano key-looking steps were installed on a stairwell next to an elevator to see if people would take the stairs if it were fun. And it worked, because over 60% more people started taking the stairs.

So what works for you? Is it a simple prompt to remind you to take the stairs? A calorie count? Artwork on the walls? Or something more drastic, like piano steps?

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