I recently read an article about a mall in England that posted colorful, stand-out signs by the escalator/stairs in the mall last Christmas to encourage and inspire shoppers to take the stairs instead of the escalators. The article noted that “normally, about 4 percent of people at the mall take the stairs but after adding the signs, that went up to nearly 10 percent.”
The article also noted a study done by the CDC (Centers for Diseases and Prevention) in the organization’s own indoor stairwells — they added music and art to make the stairwells more attractive to people. The CDC reports they have increased stair use in their own building by 20 percent!
I think these are amazing statistics. They show that little changes in our minds and environment can make big differences. Sometimes it’s as easy as reminding ourselves what is healthy for our bodies.
The CDC considers “carrying 25 lbs or more up a flight of stairs” to be vigorous activity. Well, I did that several times yesterday at the mall!
This is great news at this time of year, when so many of us will be spending more hours in malls than we normally do! While climbing one flight of stairs isn’t going to substitute for consistent daily exercise, here’s the key: Taking the stairs when you can is physical activity, and if you make a habit of always taking the stairs, you are cumulatively adding more activity to your days. And the better you start to feel physically, the more you’ll be motivated to keep moving!
P.S. Mall walking is great exercise. And at this time of year, it’s so festive and fun. I went to the mall early this morning to check out the scene, and I was amazed at the number of mall walkers clipping along with pedometers and good conversation. I think most malls around the country are open before store hours for walkers. So check out your local mall and get a workout before your power shopping!