Research shows that stairwell use can increase levels of physical activity1-3,5.
Ways to start
- Collaborate with relevant groups to create motivational signs to inspire people to use stairs.
- Tailor motivational messages to all age groups and demographics.6-14
- Post signs in multiple locations such as stairwells, by elevators, cafeteria, public bulletin boards.
- Collaborate with employers, building facilities departments and/or municipalities to develop guidelines or policies to ensure stairwells are well maintained such as clean, garbage cans available, adequate lighting.
- Add artwork or play music to increase stairwell use.4
Amplify your impact
For further action to increase physical activity in your community, see
- Awareness and education strategy,
- Bike racks or shelters strategy,
- Creating inclusive programming strategy,
- Active transportation for schools strategy,
- Affordable opportunities strategy,
- Public pathways strategy.
Multi-component community-wide interventions that increase awareness about and provide opportunities for physical activity in your community will have greater impact than implementing one-off strategies.
Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines:
- What you expect to learn or change
- What you measure and report
- How to measure impact
What you expect to learn about stairwell use may include:
- Learning that the strategy is being implemented as planned
- Improved appearance and appeal of the stairwell areas
- Increased policies that include stairwell maintenance
- Increase use of stairwells
References –Stairwell Use
- Kahn EB, Ramsey LT, Bronson RC, et al. The effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity. A systematic review. American journal of preventive medicine. 2002;22(4 Suppl): 73-107.
- Ker J, Eves F, Carroll D. Six-month observational study of prompted stair climbing. Preventive medicine. 2001;33(5):422-427.
- Kerr J, Eves FF, Carroll D. Getting more people on the stairs: the impact of a new message format. Journal of health psychology. 2001;6(5):495-500.
- Boutelle KN, Jeffery RW, Murray DM, Schmitz MK. Using signs, artwork, and music to promote stair use in a public building. American journal of public health. 2001;91(12):2004-2006.
- Anderson RE, Franckowiak SC, Snyder J, Bartlett SJ, Fontaine KR. Can inexpensive signs encourage the use of stairs? Results from a community intervention. Annals of internal medicine. 1998;129(5):363-369.
- Williams G, Hamm MP, Shulhan J, Vandermeer B, Hartling L. Social media interventions for diet and exercise behaviours: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ Open. 2014;4(2):e003926. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003926. Available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24525388
- BC Ministry of Health. Evidence review: healthy living – physical activity and healthy eating. CORE public health functions for BC. Victoria (BC): BC Ministry of Health; 2006. Available from: https://www.health.gov.bc.ca/public-health/pdf/Healthy_Living_Physical_Activity_Healthy_Eating_Evidence_Review.pdf.
- All-Party Commission on Physical Activity. Tackling physical inactivity: a coordinated approach. London (UK): All-Party Commission on Physical Activity; 2014. Available from: https://parliamentarycommissiononphysicalactivity.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/apcopa-final.pdf.
- Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations to increase physical activity in communities. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2002;22(4S):67-72. Available from: https://www.thecommunityguide.org/sites/default/files/publications/pa-ajpm-recs.pdf.
- World Health Organization (WHO). Interventions on diet and physical activity: what works: summary report. Geneva (SW): World Health Organization; 2009. Available from: http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/summary-report-09.pdf.
- MacArthur Group Inc. Physical activity strategy for Prince Edward Island 2004-2009. Charlottetown (PE): MacArthur Group; 2004. Available from: http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/doh_actstrat.pdf.
- Garcia J, Beyers J, Uetrecht C, et al. Healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weights guideline for public health in Ontario. Toronto (ON): Cancer Care Ontario, Program in Evidence-based Care; 2010. Available from: https://archive.cancercare.on.ca/common/pages/UserFile.aspx?fileId=64413.
- Committee on Physical Activity, Health, Transportation and Land Use. Does the built environment influence physical activity? Examining the evidence. Transportation Research Board Special Report 282. Washington (DC): The National Academies Press; 2005. Available from: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/11203/does-the-built-environment-influence-physical-activity-examining-the-evidence.
- Community Preventive Services Task Force, CDC. Campaigns and informational approaches to increase physical activity: Community-wide campaigns. The community guide. Washington (DC): CDC; 2014. Available from: https://www.thecommunityguide.org/findings/physical-activity-community-wide-campaigns