Obesity. Even with all the fitness fads popping up every other day in America, 1 in 3 people still struggle with it. The CDC may have an answer to this growing epidemic and they are looking to an unlikely partner to make it work; the stair industry.
That’s right, stairs. And they have implemented a program to help get things going. It’s called “StairWELL to better health”
From the CDC Website:
“Taking the stairs is one way to be more physically active. At work, employees are often presented with a choice between taking the stairs and taking an elevator or escalator. Choosing the stairs instead of the elevator is a quick way for people to add physical activity to their day.”
They go on to suggest that making stairs more attractive to potential users will encourage people to ditch the escalators and elevators in favor of the hard way up. The idea is that if the stair option has a little something extra (music, murals, or even games) the average person will choose the healthier route. And they are not wrong.
Some of you may remember this little experiment entitled ‘The Piano Stairs’. It did get over 21 million views on Youtube.
Now we in the stair industry are faced with a daunting challenge; how to make it fun to take the stairs. So, here at the SMA, we decided to go through our archives and pick six staircases to give our members and the general public an idea of how stair design can convince people to make the healthy choice. Each of these brings forth a unique idea to encourage people to take the stairs. Not only are they beautiful and innovative, but they also could be, shedding pounds, shaving inches and saving lives.
At first glance it may look like this is doing the opposite of what is intended. Sliding down the stairs is a lot easier than walking down them. But if you look closer and consider all factors, this is actually ingenious. It all hinges on one principle: in order to slide down, you have to climb up.
The more you want to slide, the more you have to climb. While this may seem a little childish to some of us adults (Not me, I’ll slide all day long. I’m a 12 year old trapped in a 37 year old body) this solution can be considered getting to the root of the problem. Unhealthy kids grow up to be unhealthy adults. Getting them active young is key to encouraging a healthy lifestyle as they get older.
Speaking of being adults, those of us who are remember a little movie called “Aliens”, and fondly at that if you are any kind of awesome. To see that movie take form as stairs with this amazing design is really pretty cool. Which brings us to my point: If you stop at a crossroads and are given the choice between a boring old elevator or walking up these bad boys like a boss, there really is only one choice. It’s “game over” for the elevator.
As you will see later down the list, unique design plays a huge part in getting people to forgo the easy route and choose stairs instead. The more unique the staircase, the more people will be inclined to walk up them. It becomes more of a life experience and less of ‘oh, I have to walk up two flights of stairs, ugh…’ You will never hear anyone say ‘Those Alien steps were cool but the escalator just looked so much more enticing.’
Because escalators are never more enticing than alien stairs. Never.
It is all about the risers
Sometimes in order to make a staircase unique and enticing all you have to do is add a little extra something. These stairs, inspired by the works of Andy Warhol (Which makes it fancy), are just different enough to make an onlooker say ‘Hmm, I wonder what is up that way?’ They appeal to our sense of adventure and make us wonder what is around the other side of that landing.
And there will be some people who will find out. And that is all you need, just a few at first, then the rest will follow. People tend to be like that. Needing a leader to follow. The trick here is to make the staircase that leader. ‘If you build it, they will come’, and hopefully, they will take the stairs.
These stairways, located in a low income rental property in the Bronx, have nothing really special about the design. Sure, the artwork may be cool, but the stairs themselves are kind of bland. What they do have, however, is music.
In this case it isn’t the stairs that are enticing but the corridor. To some, the peacefulness of it all may seem like a small escape from the everyday rigors of life in low income housing. It may offer a few minutes of solitude to those who are lucky to get seconds a day. It may be the one time all day when some folks get to see something nice. And for that, my friends, you take the stairs.
Make the stairs themselves interesting
When we take the stairs, we look down. It might as well be a law of physics. This staircase takes advantage of that very thing by using it to showcase… wood shavings? Ok, why not… it is better than nothing and you have to admit, it does catch the eye. What is important here is visual stimulation.
And you have to admit, it does kind of work.
Two words: Fish Tank
Most of the time the stairway itself is the focal point but in this case the stair is an observation vehicle taking you on a route around the focal point. This innovative concept fills the typical stairwell void with a liquid mobile and gives the stairway an additional purpose to provide the user with a trip between floors infused with wonder.
If this design doesn’t encourage people to dive at the chance of putting a flight behind them this day, nothing will.