It’s tough to find time in a busy schedule for a full workout, but there’s a pretty easy opportunity for exercise that many of us pass up every day. That would be the decision to take stairs instead of an elevator. The flights would add up if we let them: up and down at the office, maybe once again for lunch, maybe yet again at our apartment building. But all too often, at the intersection of stand-or-step, we go with stand.
That’s not necessarily because we’re lazy. Truth is, the choice between taking the stairs or the elevator isn’t always created equal. While elevator banks are centrally located, staircases are often hidden away—not to mention poorly lit, dank, and let’s face it, somewhat murdery. As recent evidence shows, the design of a building can act as an invisible hand guiding us away from physical activity and toward a bigger pants size.