CHALLENGE: NO ELEVATOR FOR 21 DAYS

Unless you suffer from a serious condition, or you have some sort of limitation in your mobility, you really shouldn´t use an elevator, ever, not only during the 21 days that I propose you here. Yes, you heard me correctly, ever, never, jamais, nunca. NIEMALS.

Because of this comfy world that we live in, which is great, but has softened us to point of jeopardizing our health, I am sure you have never even considered this possibility. So challenge you to stop using the elevator for three weeks, and use more intensely those legs that we have the luxury to enjoy.
Walking is not an athletic activity, or a workout, in the modern sense of the term, it is locomotion. And walking is what the humans have been doing many hours a day since the dawn of time. Well, in fact since we had to climb down from trees and risk our lives in the savanna in order to feed and survive.

This is not a technical paper on biomechanics or internal medicine, but it is important to understand that in order to be able to walk we made very important changes in our anatomy. We would have rather stayed on trees tops, eating fruits and doing nothing all day long, but we had to get down to fight for survival against hyenas, lions and whatever the hell lived in the African plains millions of years ago. And our body changed, so we could walk and run more efficiently.

From having small legs, and hips adapted to little use on trees, evolution made us develop mechanisms to sustain long days walking in an upright manner. Enormous changes that came with a price, especially for women. Many people get this wrong, it is not that our body has ¨get used¨ to walking during millions of years of having to do it, and now if we don´t do it we feel stiff and weird. Is is that through that evolutionary process we developed systems to mitigate the fact of long hours walking (cardiovascular system, lymphatic system, digestion…). The problem is that now we are back to the tree (or the couch, for that matter) and we get sick because those systems that we developed are not being used and stimulated. That is why they say that sitting is the new smoking.

In short, all this spiel to tell you that, independently of the level of physical activity in which you might or might not be engaged in, walking regularly has enormous benefits for your health and your metabolism.

But we are all very time constrained and it is very unlikely that you will find one hour a day for a walk. Work, family, friends, other commitments… Just take the opportunity to walk to run errands, and don´t use elevators! It really doesn´t save time to do so, so develop the habit. I challenge you to use the stairs instead of elevators during 21 days. Please pay attention not to fall for the availability bias. Architects and real estate developers are very smart, most modern buildings are designed and conceived so you take the damn thing. Don´t. You will have to fight for it and actively look for the stairway. Unless you find yourself in one of those beautiful and magnificent classic building, where it will be just the opposite: The stairs will welcome you in an inviting manner… take them!

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