We drink a lot of tea in the Magenta office. An obscene volume of tea. Surely enough in any month to fill Brighton Lagoon. Cathy has a penchant for Earl Grey or mint. I like green or English breakfast. James sticks to just English breakfast. And Richard, who likes a dash of tea in his hot water and milk, well, don’t ever ask him to make you one.
Uncomfortably full bladder aside, the trips down and up the stairs from the office to the kitchen are the real pain of all this tea drinking. Searing pain in the legs and in the lungs by the first floor, that is.
Given that stair climbing is not my favourite task in a working day, I was interested to read about a new start-up launched to tackle obesity and promote fitness by labelling stairs in workplaces and everywhere for calorie burn. Essentially, the initiative encourages people – workers, commuters and anyone really – to take the stairs rather than take the lift.
The StepJockey website allows any set of stairs to be mapped and rated for calorie burn. Once stairs are rated, smart posters or signs can be printed out and used to label the stairs, and stair users can track their progress with the StepJockey app.
According to the StepJockey team, the initiative enables organisations to encourage greater fitness among staff, sends a clear signal that the organisation values a healthy working environment, and has a positive impact on the management of buildings because it reduces demand on lifts and escalators.
In StepJockey trials involving more than 250,000 stair/lift journeys, stair climbing increased by up to 29 per cent when the building was equipped with StepJockey smart signs. When office workers were able to track their stair climbing, stair use jumped by over 500 per cent.
So would StepJockey have a positive effect on the Magenta team? Actually there are only three floors between the kitchen and the office. Not 30 as my fitness levels, or lack thereof, would have me believe. That’s 45 steps exactly. At 0.1 calories for every step climbed up and 0.05 calories for every step down, that’s 6.75 calories in total for a round tea trip. It doesn’t sound like much – not even the calorie equivalent of an apple slice. But those tea trips add up over time, and I do feel the benefits of moving my body throughout the day, rather than being entirely desk-bound.
Workers in taller buildings would really notice the benefits, I think, and if I were keen to get really fit and lose loads of weight I’d install the app on my phone immediately and get climbing.
Right now, though, I’m on my tenth cup of tea of the day. That’s 67.5 calories across 10 tea trips. Come to think of it, since I’ve probably already burned it off, I think I will have another digestive biscuit.
We always enjoy hearing from you – do you reckon you’d ever voluntarily switch to taking the stairs rather than the lift?