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Bringing the Staircase Back – NYC Joins the Staircase Health Push

Posted on Thu September 4th 2014 by Dan

We’ve written before about how authorities around the world are trying to improve public health and combat obesity by encouraging people to use the stairs. Their methods vary greatly and chances are the results do as well but you have to applaud them for trying.

Now, one of the largest cities in the world is getting involved. Authorities in New York City are trying to encourage people to use the stairs by highlighting their architectural beauty, the environmental benefits, as well as the positive health aspects.

Research suggests that adults in the United States gain, on average, a pound a year – something that can be offset by two minutes of stair climbing each day. And those behind the plan are also citing a medical study of 10,000 men that found those who climbed between three and five flights of stairs per day had a 29 per cent reduction in the risk of a stroke.

Neon green posters are being placed close to staircases with messages such as “Burn calories, not electricity. Take the stairs!” More than 30,000 posters have been distributed in over 1,000 buildings across the city.

As well as trying to persuade people to use the stairs more often, the authorities have given another group people reason to cheer with its latest campaign: architects. And that’s because there are plans to increase the number of staircases in and around the city.

Architect David Burney, former NYC commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction says: “As architects and planners, we’ve been part of the problem, in terms of making our lives so sedentary, making things so easy. And there are ways that we can and should correct that.”

The scheme in New York follows attempts in Europe and Asia to encourage people to use the stairs more often in order to improve their health, and research suggests those schemes are having some benefits in terms of obesity rates and the number of people taking up regular exercise.