Adults spend a large portion of their life in their workplace, and having access to and incorporating physical activity into one day can have a positive impact on health. That’s why we need to incorporate stairs into the work space!

The health department Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control conducted a study, which only included city employees. Before the study, small signs were placed at elevator call buttons and stairway entrances reminding employees to burn calories, not electricity; by using the stairs.

The prompts included information about the benefits of taking the stairs, such as personal health and the environment. More than half of the participants said they climbed at least one flight of stairs at work per day. Men and women who weighed less tend to take the stairs more often than heavier people. Employees were about three times more likely to use stairs in buildings with stair prompts, the authors wrote in the journal Preventive Medicine.
Scientific evidence now tells us that creating environments that support people in the behaviour changes they are trying to make helps people to be successful at accomplishing these healthier behaviours. How to get employees to take the stairs, you ask?

Light IT UP:Stairwells that had natural lighting and were visible from
lobby entrances were also more frequently used than their darker or more distant counterparts.

10% STAIRS/90%ELEVATOR Rule: People who worked on higher floors were less likely to take the stairs. The authors suggest a way around this by encouraging employees to take the stairs for at least part of the journey and take the elevator the rest of the way.

KEYCARD ACCESS TO HEALTH: Sometimes stairs are restricted for security reasons, but building security could incorporate key card or code access to employee floors to get around the issue. New buildings can easily integrate a stair for everyday use from the outset of the design process.

STAIR PROMPTS:Use posters or flyers about the benefits of taking the stairs and signs like “Burn Calories, Not Electricity” in places like elevators and entrances.

Often people have access to stairs but dont choose to use them, Ruff and co author Karen Lee, a senior advisor in the health department Division of Chronic Disease Prevention, said.

Better access to stairs in office buildings – and prompts reminding people to use them – might encourage workers to get more exercise! Let employees step into your stairway countdown to wellness.

What do you think?