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Opinion

Students encouraged to take the stairs

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March 21, 2013

I had my sixth knee surgery a week and a half ago.

It was an arthroscopic surgery, and since the procedure was not extremely invasive, I was only on crutches for about half of a week. All of my classes are on the second and third floors of the Kleinpell Fine Arts building, so for the past half week, I had to take the elevator to get to all of my classrooms. One would think that taking the elevator would not be so bad, however, it was nothing short of a nightmare.

I left my room in Ames Suites a solid 20 minutes before my morning classes were scheduled to start, assuming that this would give me enough time to crutch to the building, get through the door and wait for the elevator. That could not have been further from the truth. It typically took me roughly 10 to 12 minutes to get inside of the building, meaning that I had about 8 to 10 minutes to wait for the elevator. I pressed the button and waited patiently, but this seemingly significant period of time was not long enough to wait for the elevator to arrive on the first floor.

I assumed that the elevator was taking a long time because it was picking up other people like me who were unable to climb up and down the flights of stairs. However, when the elevator finally reached the first floor and the doors opened, I was instantly infuriated. Almost every day, a group of three to seven people would saunter off the elevator complaining about how were too tired, lazy or hungover to take the stairs. As a result of these inconsiderate people, I was late to class every day I was on crutches.

I never realized how frustrating it is when perfectly capable and healthy people use the elevator until I had the experiences described above. People should not need to be told to take the stairs. They should simply do it out of habit and common courtesy for others.

However, because it is quite obvious that there are people on campus who need to be told to use the stairs, I will review the benefits of taking the stairs on a daily basis.

Walking up and down flights of stairs each day is a good way to get a little bit of exercise, especially if your destination is on one of the top floors of a building. Health studies have consistently shown that Americans are not getting the amount of required activity each day. Taking the stairs is an excellent way to pick up some cheap exercise time and keep your body active.

Furthermore, if you have an early morning class, taking the stairs is an awesome way to get your body moving. I know it is difficult for me to get my body moving in the morning, and on days when that mug of coffee is not enough to get the job done, taking the stairs helps me get going. Getting your body moving also wakes up your brain and prepares you to take part in the learning process, thus increasing the probability that you will retain more of the information covered in classes.

Finally, taking the stairs allows you to make it to class on time. It seems to be a common belief that taking the elevator is faster than taking the stairs. However, the elevator makes frequent stops, thus delaying its arrival on your floor. By the time it arrives to pick you up, if you had taken the stairs, you would already be in class. Clearly if you are running late, taking the elevator is not a viable solution to this problem. The only two solutions to this problem are to set your alarm for an earlier time and to walk up the stairs faster than you normally would.

Elevators are a brilliant invention. They are designed for people who are physically incapable of climbing up and down flights of stairs. If you do not fall into this category, you should not be using the elevator. It is that simple.

Morgan Stippel is a political science major and a professional writing minor. When she graduates from UW-River Falls, she wants to become a state prosecutor and specialize in domestic violence cases.