Recommendations for promoting stair use in the Dalhousie Tupper Building
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There is an increase in the proportion of people engaged in sedentary careers, which promotes a more inactive lifestyle. Promoting physical activity across Dalhousie campus is a major part of the Healthy Dalhousieʼs program initiative. One of the suggested modes to increase physical activity of staff and faculty at the workplace is to promote stair use. Our research indicated that there are several health benefits associated with taking the stairs. Ascending the stairs improved cardiovascular fitness, reduced cholesterol levels, decreased body fat, and increased the strength of the lower limbs. These results support the idea of promoting stair climbing to help increase the physical activity of staff, which will lead to an overall increase in their health and well- being. This study chose to focus on one building of particular interest regarding stair use: the Tupper Building. Located on Carleton street, it is the tallest building on campus, standing 18 stories tall and housing the most staff and faculty. Promoting the use of stairs rather than the elevators in the Tupper Building is an interest for Healthy Dalhousieʼs Program. The purpose of this study was to identify physical, social, environmental, and behavioural barriers to stair use in the Tupper Building so that active wellness programs can be created to address the barriers and increase stair usage. The results of the survey confirmed that most people do not take the stairs at work. Over half of the respondents either take the stairs once a week or never, while at work. Upon comparison of individual body mass index (BMI) to their usual mode of transportation a positive correlation between elevator use and increasing BMI was observed. These findings indicate that there is potential to increase the health of the faculty and staff at Dalhousie through increasing their use of stairs at work. Our recommendations for future buildings include: art in stairwells, improved ventilation, improved cleanliness, and alternative door closing mechanisms. Placing art in the stairwells would create a more interesting, engaging, and welcoming atmosphere and could be a feasible option to implement not only in future buildings, but buildings that already exist. This result is supported by previous studies, which have found that increased stair use can be obtained with improved aesthetics.