The stairway to health is a program designed by the Canadian public health agency to provide support and resources to encourage Canadians to get active and increase their daily physical activity. Something as simple as taking the stairs throughout your workday can do a lot in helping you reach minimum physical activity requirements (30-60 min a day, everyday). Here is on of the “stairway to health” fact sheets:
There are a variety of benefits to programs that encourage the use of stairways, as part of physical activity in workplaces, or other settings. These benefits may include improved morale, a sense of well-being, higher energy levels and improved team building. Below are the measurable benefits that are indicated in research on stair use.
- Canada’s Physical Activity Guide recommends that Canadians accumulate 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity each day.
- Stair climbing is possible in many workplaces and requires no special equipment in order to participate.
- There is evidence to suggest that moderate intensity lifestyle activities like taking the stairs may be more successfully promoted than structured vigorous intensity exercise programs (Kerr, 2001).
- Stair climbing can be accumulated across the course of the day, making a significant contribution to 30 minutes of daily physical activity (Kerr, 2001).
- Stair climbing interventions typically result in a 6-15% increase in use of stairs.
- A significantly lower risk of mortality is indicated in studies where participants climbed more than 55 flights per week. (Paffenbarger et al. 1993).
- Stair climbing requires about 8-11kcal of energy per minute, which is high compared to other physical activities (Edwards, 1983).
- Active Stair climbers are more fit and have a higher aerobic capacity (Ilmarinen et al, 1978).
- Even two flights of stairs climbed per day can lead to 2.7 kg weight loss over one year (Brownell, Stunkard, and ALbaum, 1980).
- There is a strong association between stair climbing and bone density, in post-menopausal women (Coupland et al. 1999).
- Stair climbing programs can improve the amount of ‘good cholesterol’ in the blood – HDL concentrations (Wallace and Neill, 2000).
- Stair climbing increases leg power and may be an important priority in reducing the risk of injury from falls in the elderly (Allied Dunbar Survey, 1992).
- Because stair climbing rates are currently very low, increasing population levels of stair climbing could lead to substantial public health dividends (Kerr, 2001
- Because stair climbing is an activity with which we are all familiar, participants have a high level of confidence in their ability to participate in the activity (Kerr, 2001).