EHS OutLoud Blog

Stairway to Health

staircase.jpgIf I could take the stairs every day at work instead of the elevator, I would. Unfortunately, that's not an option. The building's stairs are for emergencies only, and aren't designed for daily use. That leaves me waiting around for an elevator when I'd often rather dash up the few flights of stairs to the office.

But if you do work in a building that lets you hit the stairs, here's a tip: Help improve your employees' health and productivity by posting signs that encourage the use of stairs instead of elevators.

According to researchers at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, posting signs that encourage stairway use helped motivate people to take the stairs – and continue doing so for months.

Researchers observed people making 18,462 trips up and down stairs at three sites in New York City buildings. By posting signs that read, "Burn Calories, Not Electricity," they helped increased stair use between 9.2 and 34.7 percent. All those extra steps could boost employee health and help them feel energized and ready to start the day – I only wish I could try it out here and report back to you!

The best part about these findings is that they present a wellness solution that is virtually free. All it takes is a few pieces of paper to encourage employees to take an extra step toward improved health.

Now, if I can just convince our building management to install a new staircase…

The research was published in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. For more information, visit Health Behavior News Service.

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