stairs or elevator

Easy Weight Loss Tips: Stairs or Elevator?

If you’ve tried to find ways of squeezing some extra exercise into your daily routine, then you’ve probably considered taking the stairs.

Although the stairs may be the healthier option, are they really the most efficient?

Recently, researchers from the University of Saskatchewan set out to answer this very question.

So, which is it, stairs or elevator?

The Saskatchewan study, led by a group of investigators in the Department of Medicine, compared travel times between hospital floors – one of the busiest work environments out there.

What they found might surprise you…

A group of people in their mid-twenties were followed for 14 trips across 6 floors, using both stairs and elevators. Following each of their trips, participants reported their level of fatigue – a good indicator of how much taking the stairs might interfere with regular duties and overall level of energy at work.

The hospital where the study took place is a good example of the kinds of situations people encounter when faced with travel options. The hospital had two banks of elevators, with stairways located right next to each elevator. There were 18 steps between each floor, which is pretty standard.

In order to compare the efficiency of taking the stairs versus taking the elevator, researchers compared average travel times per floor. In total, 56 walking trips were compared to 336 elevator rides. All participants reported walking the stairs rather than running.

So what did they find?

The average time to travel between each floor was 13.1 seconds by stairs and 37.5 seconds by elevator. The difference in time, although it may seem trivial, adds up to 15 minutes a day! That’s right, 15 minutes a day saved by taking the stairs.

What does this mean?

First, going against our gut instinct, taking the elevator is actually a less efficient method of travel. And in a high-paced work environment, minutes can really count. Second, taking the stairs is the healthier option, providing the opportunity for some quick exercise while at work – which can improve your mood and energy level.

Researchers noted that one of the biggest problems with elevators is the wait time. A lot of time is wasted standing in front of the doors – time that could be put to better use.

As for fatigue, those who took the stairs reported an average exertion level of only 13 out of 20. And all reported being able to continue with their work duties without interruption or needing to rest. So despite what you may think, taking the stairs may in fact be one of the best ways of getting in some extra exercise.

This study is great for a few reasons. It reminds us that sometimes, the old-fashioned (and healthier) way of doing things is actually more efficient than we think. It also tells us to get creative with how we incorporate exercise and fitness into our lives. Even in a busy, fast-paced work environment like a hospital, taking the stairs saved time.

Hopefully, these findings will get you thinking differently about your daily exercise and weight loss. It turns out that taking the easier route isn’t always easier! So next time you’re faced with the decision between stairs and elevator, take the stairs, hands down.

Now to keep your metabolism at an accelerated pace you might want to also consider healthy snacking ideas for your workplace, like my recent article on the Top 5 Protein Bars – you can’t go wrong with these.

There you have it, at the end of the day those calories saved will go a long way when you add them all up every week and being smart with extra protein in your diet will fuel your higher metabolism and keep you lean and strong!

Have any questions or feedback about this easy weight loss tip? Please leave a comment below…