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.
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.”
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.