By Rose Eveleth
(Click here for the original article and podcast)
Not taking the elevator is a good way to sneak in a little extra exercise every day. And if you do get some of your exercise avoiding elevators, here’s a burning question: do you burn more calories climbing stairs one at a time or bounding up them two at a time?
To find out, researchers had subjects climb stairs reaching 46 feet high. Based on the subjects’ heart rate measurements, the researchers estimated calories burned. They found that volunteers who took the stairs two at a time had a higher rate of energy expenditure over the 86 steps they climbed—but those who climbed one at a time burned more energy in total over the entire staircase. The study is in the journal PLoS One. [Lewis G. Halsey, David A.R. Watkins and Brendan M. Duggan, The Energy Expenditure of Stair Climbing One Step and Two Steps at a Time: Estimations from Measures of Heart Rate]
It makes sense. Although the bounders had a more intense workout, the one-steppers take longer to get to the top. So even though they’re burning fewer calories per minute than the bounders do, they work out enough longer to burn more total calories. And one step or two, there’s never a wait for the stairs.
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Pace the room while waiting at the doctor's office. <strong>More from Health.com:</strong> <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20432121,00.html" target="_hplink">10 Ways to Walk Off Fat Faster</a> <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20500418,00.html" target="_hplink">9 Easy Ways to Sneak in More Exercise</a> <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20395219,00.html" target="_hplink">20 Ways to Torch 200 Calories</a>
Grocery shopping? Make an extra tour around the perimeter aisles before checking out.
Use the restroom one floor down (or up) at work instead of heading for the one just down the hall.
Ditto with your coffee.
Hide the remote so you have to actually get up to change the channel. Better yet, turn off the TV.
Park The Car
Instead of fighting other drivers for that single open spot near the door, do your blood pressure a favor and park several rows away.
Don't Just Sit There
Walk <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20355765,00.html" target="_hplink">around the block </a>while your kid is taking dance class/playing soccer/whatever.
Get Off The Bus
Get off the bus or subway one stop early.
Brush Your Teeth
March in place while brushing your teeth (go ahead and shut the door first if you'd like).
Get The Mail
Going to the mailbox? Take a tour around the house first -- then take the time to say hello to that chatty neighbor who flags you down.
Walk To The Store
Hoof it to the store when you're only buying a few easy-to-carry items.
Don't Send That Email
Walk over to your coworker's desk instead of e-mailing her.
Make it a nightly habit to go for an after-dinner stroll with the family.
Early for an appointment? Walk around the block instead of adding to your interminable time in the waiting room.
Take a daily afternoon "brainstorming" walk.
Wander the room while chatting on the phone.
Walk To School
Walk your child to school instead of waiting in the endless carpool line.
Instead of cooping yourself and your coworkers up in a stuffy conference room, make your next meeting a walking one.
Headed to the mall? Stroll the length of it once before you start buying -- and scout the sales while you're at it.
Set An Alarm
Set the alarm on your computer to go off every hour or two, then take a quick tour around the floor (or even just a trip up and down the hall) when it does.
Next time you have to run a couple of errands, park midway between your destinations and walk to them both. In between, pause to leave the dry cleaning in the car before strolling over to pick up your best friend's birthday gift.
Forget The Stilletos
Leave the stilettos in the closet and charm your hubby (or boyfriend) into taking a moonlit walk after dinner at your favorite restaurant.
No More Escalators
Tell yourself that you're allergic to escalators and act accordingly.
Instead of getting together with the girls for a stay-put meal, plan an evening of window-shopping or an afternoon of new-neighborhood scouting.
Take The Scenic Route
Whenever possible (and safe), take the scenic route! <strong>More from Health.com:</strong> <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20432121,00.html" target="_hplink">10 Ways to Walk Off Fat Faster</a> <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20500418,00.html" target="_hplink">9 Easy Ways to Sneak in More Exercise</a> <a href="http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20395219,00.html" target="_hplink">20 Ways to Torch 200 Calories</a>