Swiss researchers have found that taking the staircase regularly can lead to better fitness, less body fat and a drop in blood pressure, cutting the risk of dying prematurely by up to 15 per cent.
"This suggests that stair-climbing at work may have major public health implications. It underlines the importance of architectural design and convenient placement of stairwells to help people make healthy choices," the 'Daily Mail' quoted lead researcher Prof Philippe Meyer as saying.
For their study, Prof Meyer and his fellow researchers at the University Hospital of Geneva recruited 77 colleagues whose lifestyle was defined as sedentary -- meaning they did less than two hours exercise or sport each week, and less than ten flights of stair-climbing a day.
Over 12 weeks, the subjects were asked to use the stairs exclusively at work instead of taking the lift. The average number of floors they went up and down each day increased from five to 23.
After three months, treadmill tests showed their aerobic capacity -- the amount of oxygen the body can use -- had increased by 8.6 per cent.
In addition, there were statistically significant falls of almost two per cent in waist circumference, weight and body fat levels, while blood pressure dropped by 2.3 per cent and levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol by 3.9 per cent, the researchers found.
The study has been presented at the European Society of Cardiology in Munich, Germany
6 months ago