Using the stairs instead of an elevator helps us keep trim and saves energy—and stairway design and placement, for instance, can boost the likelihood we’ll take the stairs. New research supplies another reason to encourage stair use via design – we feel energized after walking up and down stairs. Investigators have found that “10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more likely to make participants feel energized than ingesting 50 milligrams of caffeine-about the equivalent to the amount in a can of soda. . . . [Patrick J. O'Connor, a professor in the department of kinesiology and former graduate student Derek Randolph, who co-authored this study] wanted to compare an exercise that could be achieved by people in an office setting, where they have access to stairs and a little time to be active, but not enough time to change into workout gear, shower and change back into work clothes. ‘Office workers can go outside and walk, but weather can be less than ideal. It has never rained on me while walking the stairs,’ said O'Connor. . . . Study participants were . . . college students who described themselves as chronically sleep deprived-getting less than 6½ hours per night. . . . Neither caffeine nor exercise caused large improvements in attention or memory, but stair walking was associated with a small increase in motivation for work. . . . even a brief bout of stair walking can enhance feelings of energy without reducing cognitive function.” Study results are published in Physiology and Behavior.
“Skip the Caffeine, Opt for the Stairs to Feel More Energized.” 2017. Press release, University of Georgia, http://news.uga.edu/releases/article/stairs-more-energy-research/.