For your health and the planet, take the stairs

For your health and the planet, take the stairs

In a Berlin station, in July 2022.

Ten thousand steps and more. How many times a week do you take the stairs instead of the elevator, to go up or at least down a few floors? And for those who work in a modern building, do you even know where the stairwells are? At a time when active modes of transport (walking, cycling, etc.) are asserting themselves as valuable tools for public health and ecological transition, it is time to look into this particular modality that is ascent or descent of stairs.

The subject is not anecdotal. With 100 million daily trips in France, the 630,000 lifts are the most used means of transport in the country, says the Lift Federation.

In terms of health, the benefits of stairs are indisputable. “The physical activity currently considered to be the most beneficial for health must combine cardiorespiratory work and muscle strengthening, and this is the case with climbing stairs”underlines the sports cardiologist François Carré (CHU of Rennes).

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The right dose of physical activity

He thus refers to prospective studies which have shown that regular climbing of stairs is associated with an improvement in the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, with a decrease in heart and stroke accidents. This also helps to increase physical capacity, a reflection of health capital. The descent of steps, it solicits the heart and the respiratory system much less than the ascent, but it is an activity during which the muscle undergoes a stretch, which is also a very good exercise for muscle strengthening, continues François Carré. “This one is even more effective than going uphill, where the muscle is shortened”he says.

Muscular rather than electrical energy

What about potential energy savings? In France, elevators represent 5% to 8% of building consumption, i.e. a total of 2 terrawatt hours (TWh, or one billion kilowhathours) per year, the equivalent of the electricity consumption of a large city such as Nantes or Bordeaux, indicates the Federation of lifts.

While 25% of the park is over forty years old, these professionals are promoting a policy of energy sobriety. Renovating old lifts cuts their consumption by three, from 3,400 KWh/year to 1,200 KWh/year. Recently designed devices are at 650 KWh/year, there are now even 0 KWh models or almost, powered by solar energy, wind power…

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