SUNDAY TIMES - How stairs can put a pep in your step at the office
Sunday Times Lifestyle By Claire Keeton, 2017-04-21 14:33:17.0

How stairs can put a pep in your step at the office

A new study has found that 10 minutes on the stairs can be more energising than a cup of coffee.
Image: iStock

Feeling sleep-deprived and flagging at your computer? Don’t grab (another) cup of coffee or a cooldrink. Instead walk the stairs and get a quick boost.

A small study among female students found that walking up and down the stairs at a low-intensity pace for 10 minutes was more energising than a midday shot of caffeine‚ equivalent to the amount in a can of soda.

Professor Patrick O’Connor from the University of Georgia’s kinesiology department said there wasn’t much change in how the group felt after taking a caffeine or placebo capsule on separate days.

“But with exercise they did feel more energetic and vigorous. It was a temporary feeling‚ felt immediately after the exercise.”

The research involved 18 chronically sleep-deprived (less than 6.5 hours a night) college women and aimed to simulate an office setting where people don’t have much time to exercise.

In total the participants walked about 30 floors in 10 minutes at a regular pace. They performed verbal and computer-based tests before and after the exercise to see how well they performed cognitively.

Their attention and memory didn’t improve significantly but there was a small increase in motivation.

“Office workers can go outside and walk‚ but weather can be less than ideal. It has never rained on me while walking the stairs‚” said O’Connor‚ writing in the Journal of Physiology and Behavior this week. - TMG Digital