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stairs vs. elevator

Four professional athletes who swear by taking the stairs – and one who opts for the elevator

If sitting is the new smoking and doctors advise striving for 10,000 steps a day, it seems obvious that, when given the choice, you should favor the stairs over an elevator, escalator, or tempting airport people-mover. But what if you’re a competitive athlete and you’ve already logged your 10,000 steps (or more) by 7 AM – or you have a goal race on the horizon and want to stay off your feet? Here’s what five Polar professional athletes have to say about the stairs vs. elevator debate.

Team Stairs

Molly Huddle: “I’m a little crazy and I like to just do whatever is harder – though it actually seems like the fitter I am for runner, the worse going up stairs burns my quads! So I tell myself it must also be good for me to use my muscles in a different range of motion a few times a day, and then I make myself take the stairs.”

Kate Grace: “As a professional athlete, I always take the stairs, except during the few days before a race. Then I’ll take the elevator to avoid any extra work during my taper. But if I’m not about to race, I like to use the stairs as a way to check my posture and muscle activation. Sometimes I’ll do two or three extra slow, and I’ll practice engaging all my muscles like I’m doing a step-up in the gym. It’s a nice body awareness reminder when it’s easy to forget about core and pelvis alignment throughout the day.”

Angela Naeth: “I take the stairs on most occasions. I’m an able-bodied person, and it’s not a strenuous effort to take a few extra steps any day of the week. With that said, if I just raced and my body is aching, I definitely baby it a little and may opt for the elevator if the opportunity is there. And when I’m at hotels, I definitely take the elevator – only because I have luggage!”

Andrew Starykowicz: “I take the stairs more out of impatience than anything else. Where I’m at with my training does play a role, but more often it’s the impatience that kicks in and drives my actions.”

Team Elevator

Andy Potts: “I opt for the elevator every time. My reasoning is that when it’s time to go fast or hard, I go fast or hard. When it’s time to go slow and take it easy, I do my best to go easy. I try to knock out the objective of the day to the fullest. Have you ever seen a professional athlete off the field of play? They move really slowly! But when it’s go time, they move like no one else. That’s how I roll.”

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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

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