Want a Younger Brain? Just Take the Stairs – I’m Actually Not Kidding.
It’s no secret that if you want to keep your mind sharp, it’s worth making some time to workout. Yes, exercise won’t only give you a sexy body. It’ll help get you a sexy brain as well.
In fact in one study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise can actually boost the part of your brain responsible for verbal memory and learning. Whilst resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not show the same results. So basically, get your blood pumping and you could become smarter. (1)
If this isn’t enough to motivate you, how about some ridiculous 2017 brain stats to help you get off the couch. Did you know that every 66 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s? And to make it even more frightening, Alzheimer’s-related deaths have also increased by 89% since 2000. (2)
Now before you decide to go buy a whole new wardrobe of activewear and live at the gym. That’s actually not what scientists say is necessary. Physicist and biomedical engineer, Dr Jason Steffener at the Concordia University in Montreal led a study that proved something rather interesting.
The study claimed that the more flights of stairs a person climbs and the higher the amount of schooling or studies that same person completes. The “younger” their brain physically appears. The research team found that brain age decreases by 0.95 years for each year of education. And 0.58 years for every daily flight of stairs climbed. (3)
“In comparison to many other forms of physical activity, taking the stairs is something most older adults can and already do at least once a day, unlike vigorous forms of physical activity. This is encouraging because it demonstrates that a simple thing like climbing stairs has great potential as an intervention tool to promote brain health,” says Steffener.
Yes, that’s right, the beauty about taking the stairs is that it’s a routine task that most people do on a daily basis. It’s nothing you’re unfamiliar with. And honestly, it’s really not difficult to find a flight to climb. Just don’t take the elevator when the offer presents itself.
I’m not the only one who thinks this is a good idea it seems. Various countries worldwide have taken the initiative to encourage their workers in companies to take the stairs, instead of using an elevator. A No Elevators Day was even introduced to Europe in 2015. It’s basically an initiative founded by the International Sports and Culture Association (ISCA) to encourage all individuals, organizations and businesses to cut their use of elevators for a day and take the stairs instead. (4)
It seems like the United States is not the only country that needs to get their derriere’s moving. According to the Annual European statistics given by the World Health Organization (WHO). It’s estimated that 600,000 people in Europe die each year due to complications brought on from physically inactivity. (5)
If you choose to be physically inactive and let your brain feel the brunt of it. It will most likely affect more than just your health. There is a large effect on the economy as well, so let’s break this down. As an employee, you cannot possibly work productively if you are unhealthy. And the medical costs due to lack of physical activity is estimated at €300 a year for each person. This equates to a global loss of €152 billion annually.
So what have we concluded through all of this? Taking the stairs is not only easy and accessible. But it also gives you a pretty good chance of keeping your brain and body healthy. As well as keep you more efficient at work so that you can save some cash too. Whether you choose to take the stairs to keep yourself fit, to promote brain health or to save money. Ultimately it’s a win-win situation.