To kick of #HealthyHabits2017 we decided to start with ‘use the stairs whenever possible’. It’s very easy to get quite stagnant and lazy over the Christmas break and we thought this would be a nice introduction to getting your body moving a little more after the holidays.
The aim of our challenge is to introduce us and you to healthy habits that we can try out each week, if we like them we’ll try and integrate those things into our lives. It takes 30 days to build a habit to the point it because a natural routine part of your day but hopefully these small actions will give you the motivation to keep them up.
Just a quick google will show you that using stairs or walking up escalators has more health benefits than you would actually imagine. It burns more calories per minute than jogging does and is actually classed as a vigorous form of exercise. Just seven minutes of using stairs a day can halve the risk of having a heart attack over 10 years and is easy enough to build into your life and make a habit of doing.
How did it go and were there any problems?
Stairs, stairs, stairs. What an annoyance and an opportunity they are. I remember being at secondary school and having to go to the top floor of an 8 floor building that had no lift for my humanities class. I hated getting up there at first but learned to master taking two steps at a time and soon it just became a challenge.
Even at University, we occasionally had lectures on the 11th floor and there was only be one temperamental, small, old lift. So the least scary option was to actually walk the eleven flights of stairs and feel like you were dying in the process. By the fifth floor you could already feel your chest getting tight from all the heavy breathing. I can tell you though, the view from the top of Red Lion Square was 100% worth the exhausting hike.
So while stairs are a pain in the glutes, I can see there’s always a benefit to using them and that’s why I quite liked this weeks challenge, despite there not being too many opportunities to do it honestly. I did however take advantage of walking upwards in a big way one day though. I was in Eastbourne before returning to London and took my dog for a walk over the South Downs. Now a lot of the time you’d drive up to the top and then go for a walk but we decided to walk straight up and over. The view from the top is amazing and even more worth it if you put in the effort to walk up. You can look over the whole town while also seeing sheep grazing alongside the windswept trees and gorse bushes that line the tops of the hills. The main problem I found was how sweaty I got on the walk up but every moment was totally worth it.
Since returning to London I’ve only had one opportunity to hop on public transport to visit a friend but I made sure to walk up and down the escalators which only speeds up the journey. I used to do it when I worked in Central London, just to get an extra few minutes of sleep in the morning while also to get a little fitter on the way in. It’s a habit I’d encourage anyone to actively build into their life.
Let us know how your first week went if you decided to join in. And we’ll see you next week after a week of trying to sleep six to eight hours a night.