I may not always agree with the way that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tries to legislate health in the city. I think the ban on large-size sugary beverages that he wants would be useless if it ever actually went into effect. But, I do love that he’s got the health of his constituents in mind and he believes in encouraging lifestyle changes to help make the people of NYC healthier.

His latest idea in his health crusade is to encourage people to take the stairs instead of taking the elevator. He's also proposing legislation for new and rennovated buildings that would make stairwells and access to them more visible. This, I think, makes so much more sense than legislating beverages. Of course, you can’t force someone to take the stairs, but encouraging people to do so, along with giving them information on how the simple change in lifestyle can benefit, is a great idea.

What are the benefits? According to Duke University there are several, including the following.

  • Active stair climbers are more fit and have a higher aerobic capacity
  • Even two flights of stairs climbed per day can lead to 6 pounds of weight loss over one year
  • There is a strong association between stair climbing and bone density in post-menopausal women
  • Climbing stairs can improve the amount of "good cholesterol" in the blood
  • Stair climbing increases leg power and may be an important priority in reducing the risk of injury from falls in the elderly
Better aerobic capacity, weight loss, stronger bone density, help with cholesterol, increased leg power ... all from doing an activity that takes little time, no special equipment, and you don’t need to change into workout clothes to do.

This time, Mayor Bloomberg, I’m with you. For those of us who don’t live in New York city, we can still take this advice. Take the stairs instead of the elevator when you can.

Related stories on MNN:

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Mayor Bloomberg says take the stairs
The NYC mayor is encouraging residents to take the stairs and proposing legislation that would make more stairways more visible in new and renovated buildings.