Students should opt to take the stairs, not get a lift.
It’s a familiar story.
You walk in Anderson Hall and file into the long line of people waiting for the elevator to arrive from the 12th floor. After collecting students and faculty from every level on its descent, the elevator finally reaches the first floor, where it quickly fills up, leaving no room for you.
“Come on,” says the little voice in the back of your head. “Why didn’t you just take the stairs in the first place?”
It’s time you start listening to that little voice.
By taking the stairs, students can simultaneously save time, the earth and their bodies. Additionally, those who climb the university’s many sets of steps aren’t taking up valuable space necessary for riders who are wheelchair-users or otherwise physically unable to take the stairs.
Unless it’s physically necessary, the elevator serves as a crutch to many who are simply lazy or ignorant of how they are weakening not only themselves but their environment as well.
As Americans’ lifestyles become increasingly more sedentary, every bit of exercise is important. As college students, we spend a lot less time being active and a lot more time sitting in the classroom.
Taking the stairs in between classes, though, makes it possible to incorporate regular physical activity into a jam-packed college schedule.
According to health24.com, a 154-pound person can burn 10 calories per minute taking the stairs. That may not sound like a lot, but walking up the stairs for a total of 10 minutes a day adds up to 700 calories per week – amounting to 2,800 calories per month.
“Taking the stairs instead of the elevator should not be considered your cardio for the day, but you will be burning more calories,” said Tricia DePoe, fitness coordinator for Campus Recreation, “and anything extra helps.”
“Think of the saying, ‘if you don’t use, it you lose it,’” DePoe added. “That can apply here.”
Climbing stairs helps to tone the leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps and buttocks, and helps serve the same purpose as those arduous lunges you may do at the gym.
A study conducted by the European Heart Journal showed an average increase of 8.6 percent lung capacity among 69 hospital employees, after they took the stairs for 12 weeks. Participants also showed a 1.7 percent decrease, along with decreases in waist circumference, diastolic blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
Standing in an elevator won’t burn you many calories, but it can burn valuable time and different kind of fuel.
Elevators also require energy, raising the electrical bill and taking a toll on the environment. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy found that elevators in air-conditioned office buildings account for 5 percent of building electricity use in North America.
Taking the stairs boosts the health of the environment and your own body, so unless you’re physically unable to take the stairs, there’s no excuse to wait in those lines. Instead, save yourself some time, burn some calories and head for the stairs.
Grace Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.