We spend close to two-thirds of our lives at work, which means that many of us spend that time exerting little energy beyond frenzied fingers typing on a keyboard.
Now, think about all of your other seated activities every day — eating meals, commuting, playing Candy Crush, watching television — and you’ll notice that you’re not as physically active as you may think.
According to a recent survey conducted by Ergotron, Americans spend 13 hours with their behinds glued to a chair. Additionally, those of us who get a full eight hours of sleep (which is good) can figure that about 21 hours of the day, or nearly 90% of them, are spent in a sedentary (seated or sleeping) environment.
Finding a way to fit the rest of your life into the final three free hours of the day after you leave work isn’t always easy. Factor in kids, errands and other life distractions, and there may only be minutes left to jam in physical activity.
But you can find a hidden solution behind a door labeled “Stairs” in your office building.
Taking the stairs in your office can help reduce stress, increase cardiovascular fitness, improve muscle endurance, and strengthen the part of the body you so often find connected to the chair — the gluteal muscles.
It can also save time. Taking the stairs is almost always quicker than the elevator up to about five floors, which can make your work day more efficient and help you make steps toward meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity for adults.
Here are some reasons why spending a few minutes each day in the stairwell can help you maintain or reduce your body weight:
Wondering exactly how many calories you can burn climbing stairs where you work? MyFitnessPal’s exercise calculator computes the number of calories burned based on the duration of several activities and your body weight.
Opening the stairwell door next to the elevators — instead of going into the elevator — provides health benefits beyond weight loss, including:
If you have an iPhone with iOS8 or higher, the Health app will track how many flights of stairs you climb. The app runs continuously in the background on your phone, so you don’t have to remember to turn it on or off to collect movement data. Along with the number of flights climbed, the app also tracks your number of steps walked and distance traveled.
If you’re not completely sold on the health benefits associated with taking the stairs, here are a few more reasons to give it a shot:
As a national health care leader, Highmark has many incentives in place to help employees lead healthy lifestyles.
The stairwells in our Pittsburgh headquarters, for instance, were recently revamped with visuals to motivate more employees to reap the health benefits associated with taking the stairs.
Through the “StairWELL 2 Health” campaign, Highmark has brightened the stairwells by painting each stair with a colorful, inspiring message, such as “Don’t Give Up!” and “Keep moving forward,” to motivate staff to continue to the next flight.
If you have a member service question that involves personal health or insurance information, do not use the "comments" feature; please call the number on the back of your Member ID card.