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Time Required for Stair and Elevator Use: Board #133 May 30 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Westmeier-Shuh, Joshua; Parr, Brian B.; DeWitt, Christopher M.; Woeber, Kimberly W. FACSM

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 5 - p S195
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000273729.75434.95
A-30 Free Communication/Poster – Intervention Considerations and Opportunities: MAY 30, 2007 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM ROOM: Hall E

University of South Carolina Aiken, Aiken, SC.


PURPOSE: Taking the stairs instead of an elevator is one of many recommendations for increasing physical activity. However, the perception that using the stairs takes longer than the elevator serves as a disincentive for many individuals. The purpose of this study was to determine the time required to utilize the stairs and elevator when ascending and descending one floor in an academic building on a college campus.

METHODS: Ten male and 14 female subjects, comprising 12 students and 12 faculty/staff members, ages (mean±SD) 31.8±10.3 y and BMI 25.6±5.8 kg·m-2, recorded the time required to ascend and descend one floor by taking the stairs and elevator over several days. The subjects were instructed to alternate between elevator and stair use and to take the stairs at a self-selected “normal” pace during the course of their daily routine. A total of 88 elevator up, 76 elevator down, 112 stairs up, and 87 stairs down trips were recorded.

RESULTS: The time required to take the elevator was significantly greater than the time required to use the stairs when ascending (37.6±17.7 s vs. 17.2±4.8 s, p<0.001) and descending (34.1±14.7 s vs. 15.8±4.1 s, p<0.001) one floor. The excess time required when taking the elevator was attributed to the wait not the travel time since the journey from the time the elevator doors closed was ∼10 s. The time required to ascend the stairs was greater than the time to descend the stairs (p<0.05) while there was no significant difference between taking the elevator up and elevator down one floor (p=0.17).

CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that taking the elevator requires approximately twice as much time as taking the stairs when ascending or descending one floor. This information could be used as part of an intervention to increase stair use, where specific and relevant messages have been shown to be effective in encouraging stair use.

© 2007 American College of Sports Medicine