Researchers find that shopping malls can encourage healthier “incidental activity” by placing signs next to stairwells that read, “Take the Stairs,” which caused a 190% increase in stair activity over three weeks. Or, just do what most the stores in NYC do and make sure at least one escalator is out of service at all times. [Reuters]

(Photo: Getty)


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  1. TechnoDestructo says:

    I lost 40 pounds in my first 2 months (and another 20 over the next ten) in Japan. Biggest differences from my previous lifestyle: I didn’t have a car, and you can’t get decent cheese in Japan.

  2. homerjay says:

    In my local mall, there is one set of stairs and… lets see….2-4-6…ummm…12 escelators. Maybe they should just shut off the escelators.

  3. Lin-Z [linguist on duty] says:

    my apartment building uses this same tactic by having the elevator be broken as often as possible! Wow, thanks management!

  4. samurailynn says:

    According to Mitch Hedberg, escalators are never broken… they just conveniently become stairs.

  5. balthisar says:

    I usually take the stairs because as soon as lazy fat people get on an escalator, they just stand there like idiots. If you politely indicate “excuse me” to pass on the left, you get dirty looks or just plain ignored. The stairs is faster than these lazy (or stupid) slobs. So much for being a convenience.

  6. stubblyhead says:

    They have these signs in the elevator lobby in my building. I won’t say they’ve created an increase in stair usage (I’m on the 14th floor, so I always take the elevator), but there are a whole lot of people who’ll take the elevator only one or two floors.
    The main tenant in our building is a health insurance company, and it amazes me how many people in this building are morbidly obese.

  7. UpsetPanda says:

    If you walk up an escalator, why not just take the stairs? That’s what I do. I usually take the stairs because I would rather not have to travel to the two corners of my local mall just to ride on the escalator, then make my way back to the middle of the mall to get to the store I want to go to. Plus, on Saturdays when there are most shoppers I would rather not have to get smacked by someone’s shopping bags as they get off after me on the escalator and take a sharp turn because I wasn’t walking fast enough.

  8. Anitra says:

    The mall I shop at most frequently has the stairs hidden in out-of-the-way places. I don’t want to hunt for them when there is a convenient escalator.

    Other malls I’ve been at, I usually take the stairs.

  9. JMH says:

    I have a hard time believing that people who would otherwise look for an elevator or an escalator would suddenly be motivated to take the stairs simply based on seeing a sign telling them to do so.

  10. This probably works because most people are thinking that the “Take the Stairs” sign means that the escalators and/or elevators are broken.

    @balthisar: Are you just upset they won’t move to the side or are you upset they won’t walk up the escalator?

  11. Robert Synnott says:

    A local train station has a sign billing the stairs as a ‘free exercise machine’. People tend to just ignore it and take the escalator, though.

  12. erratapage says:

    Ever consider that the lazy fat person might have a disability that prevents them from taking the stairs? I have a dear friend who had a heart transplant several years ago, and just can’t do stairs.

    I have bad knees. I will often take stairs up, but taking stairs down is sometimes painful. Last year, I broke my leg and literally couldn’t take the stairs for months.

    Escalators are accessibility aids, not just speed stairs. Let’s have a little compassion.

    (Oh… and btw… the heart transplant was not due to lifestyle issues. It was a genetic condition.)