Today's challenge is to burn calories, not electricity, by taking stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Climbing stairs is a good, albeit short, aerobic- and strength-building exercise that benefits your heart and muscles. Walking up one flight or down two flights can burn calories too.
A pound of fat represents 3,500 calories. That is, you have to consume 3,500 more calories than you burn to gain one pound of fat. To lose one pound in one week, you must burn 500 more calories than you take in each day.
According to Harvard Medical School's health publication, a 155-pound person using a stair step machine burns 223 calories in a half-hour. This same person burns only 47 calories standing in line for a half an hour, which is roughly the equivalent of standing in an elevator that long.
The same person would burn 15 calories by walking up one flight of stairs, about 12 steps, three times each day. While 15 calories may seem like a paltry amount, mathematics prove taking the stairs can take off the pounds over time. If this individual took that one flight of stairs three times each day she worked full time, she would burn 75 calories a week. This works out to 3,900 calories each year, or more than one pound lost annually.
Climbing down stairs burns calories too. This 150-pound person burns about 1.5 calories when he descends one floor.
Believe it or not, taking the stairs saves time too, because of minutes wasted waiting for slow elevators to arrive. One study showed that taking the stairs saved an average of 15 minutes each workday.
Give your weight loss efforts an instant boost by choosing the stairs over the elevator or escalator today. You will burn a few calories, give your heart a nice aerobic workout and save electricity and time, all at once!