In the main lobby at St Peter’s Hospital you will find a rather large vertical banner promoting the stairs over the elevator. I’m guessing it is part of their health and wellness campaign. It sits just across the hall from the lifts next to an intersecting hallway. It reads something like this -“taking the stairs burns 5 times more calories than the elevator”. Awesome I thought!

As I was sitting in the waiting area eating a ‘fast-food’ dinner with Jean, and looking at this colossal ad, I was taken back. First, I started to question the slug of calories I was ingesting. Then I got to thinking… 5 times more calories than the elevator. Wow! Really~? This place must really care about their employees… it’s something you can’t ignore. It practically jumps out, grabs you by the arm and says, follow me… we’re walkin baby! There was this part of me however that was still contemplating the math… 5 times more calories than the elevator. Is that for one floor or eight? And how many calories does one burn whilst riding up the lift… TWO? So that means a whopping 10 calories for the stairs. Probably not even a mouthful from my mashed potato bowl.

Still puzzled I said to Jean, hey, we just ate a mashed potato bowl from KFC, I think we need to take the stairs. That banner had done it’s job and done it well. I’ve read in various behavior change marking text that if you reach even one, it’s success. Not stellar, but hey, you’ve gotten through to someone:) With a quick glance we saw no stairs opposite the lift, so we figured they must be down this hall where the giant vertical banner stood with its welcoming smile. We get to the end of the short hall and realized it’s just a dead end to offices. Hmmm! Confused we walked back. We look at the directional signs. Nothing indicates stairs. I did a couple quick circles at the end of the lobby where this sign and the elevators are located. No stairs here!

I suppose we could have gone searching and eventually found them. But we preferred to get on with the task at hand, so we pushed the button to call the magic box down to our floor. Given the situation I thought maybe pacing circles in the elevator would be a nice compromise, but it never got past theory to practice.

Back home I’m still shaking my head. Maybe that calorie factor (5X) comes from the fact you have to actually search out the stairs. And even if you don’t find them and have to return to the elevator, you’ve still burned those extra calories. Or maybe it was placed in the wrong spot. Or I know, some worker was running late for break and just set it up in the most convenient spot and no one in charge bothered to check, because that would be micro-managing. Or maybe it was placed their, not to improve one’s physical health, but to test one’s mental faculties.

Next time I’m going to eat my male pride and ask for directions to the stairs. I just have to know!!