45 calories

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
"45 calories," I could have shouted at the assisted living facility's activity director.  I almost did today as she was bounding up the stairs as I was following the kids down.  Yesterday, when we were in reverse roles (I bounding up, she walking down), I overheard a conversation between the activities director and one of the co-workers.  Something along the lines of "I don't need a treadmill, I walk these stairs a gazillion times a day."  It made me curious and so I looked up the number of calories burnt while ascending and descending a standard set of stairs (16 treads).  Turns out it is just short of .5 calories per tread -- 15 calories for up and down one flight.  Since I was coming down from the third floor and I assume she up from the first -- round trip would equal 45 calories. I clocked it on the treadmill desk and @ 5.0% incline, 1.5 mph, it took me ~ 9 minutes to burn 45 calories.  She is right -  she doesn't need a treadmill desk.  But for those of us that don't regularly ascend and descend 3 flights of stairs multiple times a day, the treadmill desk can do the trick.  I do think, however, that the stairs provide an important object lesson, particularly in this place where the elevator is the "default mode of transportation" for most of the residents.  When we are able we should take the stairs because it can prolong our need for the "default mode of transportation."