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  • StairWELL to Better Health

  • Ariel Mulchan

    Using the stairs requires little additional time, no wardrobe change, and little to no additional costs because building code requires stairs. If your building has a staircase, why not start using it now?


    One of the reasons employees may not use the stairs at work is because they perceive them as unattractive and/or unsafe. CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity conducted a study beginning in 1998 to see if making physical changes to a stairwell in the Atlanta-based Koger Center Rhodes Building, combined with music and motivational signs would motivate employees to use the stairs. A four-stage passive intervention was implemented over 3½ years that included painting and carpeting, framed artwork, motivational signs, and music. Infrared beams were used to track the number of stair users. “StairWELL to Better Health” was a low-cost intervention, and the data suggest that physical improvements, motivational signs, and music can increase stairwell use among building occupants.

    Other suggestions when improving the appearance of your staircase is not an option is walking with a friend or co-worker and listening to music on a phone or other device to make the trek feel shorter. Do you have any suggestions?

    Amber Kain
    Chief Scribe

    Ariel – this is a really great idea to take the stairs. It takes little effort and helps people to add a little extra exercise to their day. I find it interesting that they made changes to the stairwell to increase its attractiveness to employees too.

    I often think that our elevator can take forever to reach our floor, so I took to the stairs when running back and forth to different departments. Even on a “quick” day, taking the stairs takes the same – if not less – time than waiting for the elevator.



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