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Stairs are faster than elevators

December 17th, 2011

A light-hearted study in the latest Canadian Medical Association Journal compared how long it took for four subjects to travel between floors at a hospital in Saskatchewan, using a variety of routes ranging from one to six floors. The results: 13 seconds per floor via the stairs, and 36 seconds per floor using the elevator (including time spent waiting for the elevator). By their math, that means hospital workers would save 15 minutes each day by taking the stairs — and, as I wrote about last year, taking the stairs during your workday can also make a measurable difference to health.

The study abstract is here, and a news article is here. Of course, your mileage may vary: hospital workers move between floors quite frequently, unlike many office workers. Still, I almost always find I can beat the elevator by taking the stairs.