Building design can support/encourage inside exercise through activity-inducing floor plans. Bassett and his crew recently conceptually replicated the findings of earlier researchers, investigating “if buildings with centrally located, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing staircases result in a greater percentage of people taking the stairs.” They conducted research in “3 buildings on a university campus. One of the buildings had a bank of 4 centrally located elevators and a fire escape stairwell behind a steel door. The other 2 buildings had centrally located staircases and out-of-the-way elevators.” Bassett, Browning, Conger, Wolff, and Flynn found that “The percentage of people who ascended the stairs was 8.1% in the elevator-centric building, compared with 72.8% and 81.1% in the 2 stair-centric buildings [a statistically significant difference]. In addition, the percentage of people who descended the stairs was 10.8% in the first building, compared with 89.5% and 93.7% in the stair-centric buildings [another statistically significant difference].” The team concludes that “if buildings are constructed with centrally located, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing staircases, a greater percentage of people will choose to take the stairs.” For additional information on design that encourages people to take the stairs, read this article.
D. Bassett, R. Browning, S. Conger, D. Wolff, and J. Flynn. 2013. “Architectural Design and Physical Activity: An Observational Study of Staircases and Elevator Use in Different Buildings.” Journal of Physical Activity and Health, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 556-562.