Did you know that elevators and escalators kill about 30 people each year in the US, according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission?
OK, agreed, if you look closer, half of those deaths (but only half!) involve people who WORK near or in elevators. I am not saying they don’t count of course, but I guess you were thinking “passengers” when you started reading this, so I kind of mislead you. My apologies. Still, check out the numbers! It’s pretty scary. I am never riding an elevator again!
Anyway, it is true that even without considering incidents, elevators are killers. I love them for the freedom and autonomy they provide to people with reduced mobility. Yet on the other hand, I also hate them. Because they keep the rest of us from doing one of the best exercise for our body: climbing stairs.
Best cardio equipment: stairs!
Let me ask you: have you been in a gym lately? Have you seen how many stair mills and elliptical machines are present in the cardio room? Why do you think that is? If you Google “best cardio machines”, you’ll see that the stair mill comes up in pretty much every search result.
Many of us sign up at the gym and try to make room in our super busy schedule to fit in 30 minutes of cardio 3 times per week… Because, hey, we gotta be active right? But what about those stairs at work? In our apartment building? At the doctor's clinic? Or the stairs to the hotel room or in the park?
What will stairs do for you?
There are stairs everywhere and here is why you SHOULD use them, unless you have a condition that keeps you from doing so (talk to your doctor, please!).
- Stairs can give you a cardio workout, which is good for your heart and lungs if you take it at your own pace and build gradually, just like you would do at the gym.
- Stairs help you build muscles in your entire lower body and core. It strengthens your abs, lower back, butt, thighs, hamstrings, and calves. Who doesn’t want a more toned body?
- Stairs are low impact and are a very good way to make your knees stronger, unless you have a pre-existing condition.
- Stairs help you burn calories. If you are trying to manage your weight, why wouldn't you take advantage of this simple and free way to succeed?
- Every time you go up a step, you carry all your weight with you. Like any other weight-bearing exercise, this is excellent to make your bones stronger. And especially if, like me, you are a woman over 40 :-).
- Stairs are free and yes, they are sometimes hard to find, but if you start looking for them, chances are, you will find them.
- Stairs are faster than we think. By the time the elevator comes, you could already be on top of the stairs, and the more you use them, the faster you get at climbing them!
Where should you start climbing?
It’s pretty simple. Where ever you go, START WITH THE STAIRS FIRST! Always!!! I am not telling you to necessarily go all the way up. But when you are in a lobby or parking garage, find the stairs and start climbing. When you are too tired, or too sweaty, or too bored, or whatever, find the elevator and finish with it. But always take the stairs first, and see how far you can go. The following times, try to go one floor higher. If there are 20 floors, take the stairs, even if you know you will only go up 3 flights and then finish with the elevator.
Same thing with escalators. They are often paired with stairs. So take those stairs every single time, until it becomes a no-brainer for you! Bonus points if you are carrying luggage or shopping bags! And if you feel weird or embarrassed because everybody else is taking the escalator, please think about this for a second. You have seen the small electric carts in the supermarkets, right? Do you use them? Unless you are disabled or temporarily injured, you probably don’t. Why not? You most likely feel that they are not for you, that you don’t need them BECAUSE YOU CAN WALK JUST FINE. Well then, why should elevators or escalators be any different? If you can walk up a few stairs just fine, then you don't need electric assistance.
That’s the thing! Why would you take the elevator yet also go to the gym? This does not make much sense if you think about it. Take the stairs AND go to the gym, yes! Or take the stairs often and high enough, and you might be able to skip the gym once in a while :-).
Bonus: what does your coach do?
I haven't been to a gym for a couple of years. I am not a fan. But if my meeting or hotel room is on the 14th floor, I am taking the stairs, no question. And there are many other things I do in my everyday life that keep me fit without necessarily "working out" much. It is sometimes hard to find real-life examples when it comes to transitioning to a healthier lifestyle. So, if you want to know a few things that I do to stay healthy and in shape, I will be happy to share some of my DAILY HABITS with you :-). Just contact me and let me know that you want me to share more.
If you feel that you need help figuring out how to be healthier or manage your weight, let me know, I am here for you if you need me. Contact me or request a FREE Introductory Consultation so that we can chat.
I’ll be honored to chat with you and see how you can stack all the odds in your favor. Allons-y! Let’s Go!