Stairway to Health, or, Let’s Judge People for Not Taking the Stairs.

So here’s the thing. I’ve worked at several different places, and am now going to school at a place promoting the ubiquitous Stairway to Health campaign.

And here’s the second thing: people are really goddamn preachy when it comes to taking the stairs. I was at work recently when an older man, likely in his 70s, made the morally reprehensible decision to take the elevator down one floor. And when he exited that elevator, the tidal wave of vitriolic spew that issued forth from my young, elevator-taking companions etched a new high-water mark on the jetty of my astonishment. Because an old man in the hospital had chosen the elevator over the stairs.

And a third thing: not only am I fat, I have a weird heart condition (since I was 15 — before I was fat, for the record.) It’s an apparently non-threatening arrhythmia that occurs randomly, and I went to the cardiologist when I was 18 (and still not fat, again, for the record), but no definitive diagnosis was given. Just that, you know, it hasn’t killed me yet, so that’s good. I was rushed to the ER for it a couple years ago, and again with chest pains a few months ago, which turned out to be a false alarm, but which I had to take seriously because of this weird heart thing.

Fourth thing? I just hate climbing stairs. I’ve had foot injuries, knee injuries, and just a plain lot of weight to haul around, such that, in addition to already taking the stairs daily because I live in a walk-up (with the laundry room in the basement), I am just not real enthused about forcing myself to take additional stairs at every opportunity in some bid for moral superiori — I mean, for the sake of my health.

Last semester, when I decided to walk up three large flights of stairs with my schoolmates to visit a professor, we all got to the top somewhat winded. I thought to myself, “Huh, I feel funny,” but I just caught my breath along with everyone else and carried on. Ten minutes later, I felt a sudden, chill-inducing thunk-thud in my chest. It was the familar feeling of my heart recovering normal rhythm. That’s when I realized — I’d been having a tachycardia episode and hadn’t even felt it (these things normally knock me backward, as though the wind has been punched out of me) and it was, apparently, brought on by climbing the goddamn stairs.

As it is, I have to climb a fair number of obligatory stairs each day. (If you live in a city as inaccessible as Toronto, you’ll understand what I mean by “obligatory stairs.”) Whenever I go home to visit my parents in suburban Oregon, I am amazed at how easy the life is. There’s no hauling 100 lbs of groceries home on foot and then carrying them up the stairs. There’s no sprinting for the subway or streetcar. There are no obligatory stairs to the bathroom in every restaurant. No eternally-broken escalators. No walking to work in 100 F heat/90% humidity, or back home in -20 F/three feet of snow. Whatever you want to do, wherever you want to go, you simply get into your car, drive somewhere, walk a few feet, and go inside. It’s the most amazing thing in the world, and as much as people complain about how bad being sedentary is for one’s health, I always feel about ten years younger when I’m there. I find myself running on the treadmill, or taking nature walks, or even doing calisthenics because daily life is not kicking my ass into the ground.

The life in downtown Toronto is just plain hard on me, and clearly, the stairs are not helping my heart. So I try to make it at least a little easier on myself by taking an elevator or escalator when convenient. I like to think of this as having compassion for my limitations, though I admit, I am often embarrassed to be standing by the elevator — even though I am registered as disabled at my school, and have to wear special orthotics in my shoes and blah blah blah. I am still embarrassed because I know what people must be thinking of me — the fat lady taking the elevator instead of the stairs.

In the back of my mind, I always have this episode of Mystery Diagnosis running whenever I’m confronted with too many stairs. (If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a woman with undiagnosed pulmonary hypertension who, in her chubby adolescence, became reluctant to climb stairs and run and things, because she felt instinctively that it would kill her. Naturally, they blamed this reluctance on her weight, shamed her for being lazy — and then she almost died from increasing her exercise.)

I feel this same reluctance when I have more than two flights of stairs to climb, especially if I’ve got textbooks on me. I feel trapped, pinned in a corner, and in grave danger. My heart simply doesn’t want to do it, and who knows — maybe the body has its own rationale behind making me fat enough to slow down my mobility when it comes to really strenuous pursuits, thereby keeping me safer.

So, when I see these little signs start to pop up around school or work, I inwardly groan. I can’t tell you how many times, aside from the episode mentioned above, I have heard people castigate others for not taking the stairs. I myself was harassed by a janitor as I waited for the elevator at my school (which has a large sign, mostly ignored by the other students, to please reserve its use for disabled students), and I had to calmly explain that it was hard on my injured foot to take the stairs.

I shouldn’t have had to.

With the coming of the signs comes the upping of the intensity of the judgments thrown at people who don’t follow them. Personally, I climb stairs (and a loft ladder) every single day in my apartment, but I must reserve the right to make my own judgment about when to conserve my efforts, when it is better for me, in fact, not to take the stairs. For the girl with pulmonary hypertension, stairs are potentially deadly. For one of my (very young, very fit) professors with knee trouble, taking the elevator just makes sense. But when it comes to public health campaigns of this stripe, there are no exceptions, no grey areas — there is only healthy or unhealthy, fat or fit, elevators or stairs, righteous or lazy. And I don’t like it.

One more reason I dislike this program? They measure the “health benefits” of taking the stairs solely in calories burned, not enjoyment had, or mastery gained, or strength attained. Lastly, there is, of course, no mention made of those who cannot or should not take the stairs — we simply do not exist. Maybe because, in some people’s minds, we’re already as good as dead.







51 responses to “Stairway to Health, or, Let’s Judge People for Not Taking the Stairs.”

  1. Atchka! Avatar

    I admit it, I am one of those who, after the doors close, heap scorn upon the one-floor elevator takers. I’m on the 14th floor and there’s a law firm between us and the ground and every day somebody gets on and takes it one floor.

    Two floors? Fine.

    But one? Come on!

    Unless you’re a little old man or you’re carrying a bunch of boxes, I get irritated.

    It’s not that I think they’re lazy (okay, I have thought that, but still…), it’s that they’re stopping my swift ascent. For something that seems so easy, even to me: an overweight, out-of-shape, lazy bastard.

    I hadn’t thought about anything that you have mentioned. I’m sure some people have medical excuses, while others are just lazy. But since I can’t tell who’s who, I’ll try to be a little more compassionate and a little less impatient from now on.


    1. Anna Avatar

      I applaud you for trying to be less judgemental as they might have a health problem, but does that mean you will continue judging people if they are lazy? Surely it has no detrimental effect on you if someone is like “Meh, I don’t FEEL like taking the stairs.”

    2. Anna Avatar

      Oh, I just saw that you said it holds you up a bit. What do you mean by swift ascent? Like, the elevator stopping is going to make you late? I can actually get that. I tend to have the bad habit of being peeved if someone elses actions makes me a few minutes late too.

  2. megaforte84 Avatar

    I know there was one elevator at my college I nearly always took just one floor.

    Not because of any health condition that could be called such, but because the stairs – both sets in the building – had been built rather steeply and because for anyone not a freshman there was a one-third to full mile walk just to get to the building from on-campus housing or legal parking, and a good portion of the on-campus housing had going down and back up a monster of a hill involved in that walk. A lot of people were fairly winded before they ever got into the building.

  3. DataGoddess Avatar

    I’ve been given shit for *years*, even to my face, for taking an elevator one flight. The fact that I have barely-controlled asthma and an arthritic knee is nothing in the face of my death-fat lazy ass, apparently.

    There are reasons I carry my cane, even on good days.

    1. Michelle Avatar

      Haven’t you noticed? Disability is no excuse for fatness. /sarcasm

      It’s always annoying for me to hear people whisper about, like, the fat lady in the scooter at the store — like, if she’d just walk, she’d lose weight, duh!!!!1!

      Talk about lazy. Making assumptions based on obvious stereotypes is lazy as hell.

      1. living400lbs Avatar

        Meanwhile, I screwed up my knee by jumping into an exercise program too fast. Gad.

        1. KellyK Avatar

          Yeah…me too, though it was the ankle in my case. Something about doing a crap-ton of walking, then going to the gym and hitting the treadmill or exercise bike.

          1. Michelle Avatar

            Shint-splints here! From running!

          2. KellyK Avatar

            Okay, I’m six months late in saying this, but you totally have my sympathy on the shin splints. Owie!

          3. Michelle Avatar

            Oh, and then plantar fasciitis because my feet suck.

    2. jaed Avatar

      There are reasons I carry my cane, even on good days.

      In addition to the obvious, brandishing it at busybodies might also work. ;-)

  4. Trabb's Boy Avatar
    Trabb’s Boy

    Fellow Torontonian here, and do I ever know what you are talking about! Last year, I started doing stairs at my office. I’d walk from the second floor to the tenth three times a day and it felt great. Then I developed arthritis in one of my knees. I have some specific exercises I do to help with that, but I’ve been told by my doctor that stairs are really the one exercise I should be most avoiding. I still live in a typical Toronto super-skinny three-story house with very steep stairs, and I have plenty of up-and-downing to do there. If I can avoid it elsewhere, I do.

    So what the hell do I do, put a sign around my neck saying “I’m not lazy. I’m acting on doctor’s orders”?

    Honestly, the quickness with which people are willing to make judgments about people whose situations they do not know. It kills me.

    1. Michelle Avatar

      I couldn’t believe how incredibly INACCESSIBLE Toronto was when I first moved here.

      I have a lot of grievances with the US (where I’m originally from), but it’s really been an eye-opener to see what a difference the ADA has made there, compared to here.

      I have never encountered so damn many stairs in my life. And so many people who consider you lazy for not taking every single one of them. If I made a pledge, like so many people do as a New Year’s resolution, to start taking the stairs every time I encountered them, I could easily end up taking probably like 20 flights of stairs a day — between the subway, my apartment, and my school (if I took the subway, that is. I walk instead.) That’s not even counting stairs at restaurants and stores and things, nor stuff like working on the 14th (or even 40th) floor.

  5. caseyatthebat Avatar

    Thank you for this post – I’m baffled that people can turn a stairs-or-elevator choice into an excuse to get preachy. Seriously, judging someone else’s stair-climbing habits seems like such a crabby, wasteful way to spend one’s mental energy. Aside from the fact that there may be some unseen physical limitation which would make taking the stairs a bad idea, if I don’t want to make the haul up a flight or four of stairs, so what! Oy.

    On the issue of breathing heavily after using the stairs, I used to get shit from an average-sized, fairly active coworker because of how heavily I would breathe after we’d take the stairs to our 3rd floor office from the parking basement. To be sure, the breathing was noticeable and lasted a good 5 minutes, but still, her sniping really bothered me. Then it occurred to me that I am at least 100 lbs heavier than that coworker. I have dogs and buy dog food in those 45 lb bags. Shit, if I strapped just one of those bags to her, not only would she be breathing harder than me at the top of the stairs, she wouldn’t be able to keep up with me. So yeah, hauling 100 lbs more than the average person is, in fact, harder. Breathing more heavily is to be expected, gah.

    1. Michelle Avatar

      Isn’t it interesting how everything related to food and activity (and “fitness”) has somehow become framed as inherently moral? Just like body size is often framed?

    2. Anna Avatar

      Good point about the “I’m carrying more weight” point. I remember watching Biggest Loser (For irony, I swear!) and one of the trainers said “I know there are people at home, laughing at him for being out of breath and not being able to run 100 metres. But you know what? I’d like to see those jerks strap on 200 pounds and see if they could do any better.”

      I know I couldn’t!

      1. Michelle Avatar

        One good thing about being fat: you get more exercise than the average person with less time investment :)

        Trufax: my muscles are pretty big. And very, very strong.

    3. living400lbs Avatar

      I thought I would get out of breath because I was out of shape. Turns out it was exercise-induced asthma.

      1. Michelle Avatar

        I was just diagnosed with asthma a couple weeks ago — developed as an adult, as did my mom. Lovely. Doesn’t seem to be exercise-induced, luckily, but my lungs are kind of unhappy in general due to my lovely history with pneumonia.

  6. theantichick Avatar

    THANK YOU for this post!! I had the cartilage reconstructed in my knee last year. I am overweight, but am actually losing it (slowly) now that I can be active again. I’ll never be petite, but diets did nothing for me when I couldn’t be active. Even now that my knee is “better”, stairs still give me fits. I work out 3x a week at the gym, and take what stairs I need to, but when given an option (especially at school when I’m carrying 20 lbs of books) I take the elevator! If my knees get inflamed, I have to back off my gym workouts for up to 3 weeks. I don’t care to have to explain this to every do-gooder busybody who wants to chastise me for being lazy or fat. Not every disability is visible, and not everything is everyone’s damned business!!

  7. Lori Avatar

    One of the big perks of being (visibly) pregnant? You can take the elevator any time you damn well please, and nobody says anything to you.

    I’m not a fan of taking the stairs. I love to exercise. I happily use the stairs in my home. But, when I’m on campus, I much prefer to use an elevator. Why? Usually I work out in the morning, and having already walked 3-4 miles (this is in my non-pregnant state, mind you!), I have absolutely no desire for any more exertion right away. I have panic disorder, and it’s much more mentally comfortable for me to get my heart rate up in the perceived safety of my own home then when I’m out and about (this is part of why I much prefer working out at home to working out at the gym). And, since I’m heading to class, I really don’t feel like showing up winded.

    Oh, and this year my teaching bag is one of those backpacks with wheels (so I didn’t have to carry the bag, being pregnant), and that thing must weigh 15 pounds when I’ve got books and papers in it. At this point, my wonderful husband drives the car to the bottom of the parking deck to meet me, because there was no way I was dragging my almost-seven-months-pregnant butt PLUS 15-pound backpack up the two flights of stairs it takes to reach our car.

    And yet, I STILL feel guilty and like people must be judging me (even if they won’t say anything) when I don’t take the stairs.

  8. Anna Avatar

    I love stairs. Love them. It is well known among my friends that going up a flight of stairs will instantly brighten my day.

    But you know what? Some days I can’t be assed. And no one has the right to judge me for it.

    I don’t understand why people are so judgemental. Why is it anyone’s business whether or not I take the stairs. As you said, you have heart issues. It’s not visible, but nor is it any of anyone’s business. You could have a stair phobia, an injured ankle, lung issues, anything!

    I better stop before I get into a nonsensical rant.

    By the way, I just noticed the “Eating normally is the new black.” I love it! I’m going to start saying it in conversations.

  9. Claire Avatar

    I have bad knees and have been told by my doctor to avoid stairs. When with other people, I will sometimes take the stairs because I feel that pressure to conform. It always hurts and I feel stupid for doing it. Last summer, I had an acute injury that coincided with the beginning of an internship, so I informed my supervisors on the first day that I would need to take the elevator. They said it was fine, but then one of them continued to make little judgmental comments about it in the weeks that followed.

  10. Laura Avatar

    I know what this is like. I am currently employed as a housekeeper at a hotel. All day long I literally RUN around making beds as fast as I can and kneeling over bathtubs to scrub-scrub away. It’s exhausting. People don’t realize how tiring it is. I must admit, I hate having to wait for elevators and I almost always take the stairs. I suppose it makes me feel helpless just standing there when I know I could get where I’m going potentially faster by booking it up the stairs. After reading this, I will refrain from judging elevator-goers. You never know what’s going on with people and why they make the choices they make.

  11. Chloe Walker Avatar

    My company occupies the first and second floors of our building. I would really like to use the stairs, but was told in my induction that we aren’t allowed because opening and closing the fire doors all day causes damage to their flame-retardant edging (or something). Can’t win either way.

  12. Jane Avatar

    At my university, the Stairway to Health signs are up, but there are also signs saying “Use of this elevator is reserved for people with disabilities.” I actually have one, and have no problem taking the elevator one floor. If someone wants to make a comment, I’ll cheerfully explain what’s wrong.

  13. lilacsigil Avatar

    Thanks for this awesome post! I have chronic vertigo, and I can happily go up stairs (actually, it’s easier for me than taking the elevator) but going down the stairs is right out because I either have to go extremely slowly, clinging to the railing, or fall. And since I’m mightily deathfat, I reckon I could take all those virtuous stair-climbing folk right down with me!

    The moral judgement of other people’s bodies, especially women’s bodies, especially fat bodies, is so constant, but you’ve really hit on a flashpoint here.

    1. Lindsay Avatar

      Stairs are easier than elevators for me, too! I get motion sickness, so elevators tend to make me feel dizzy, lightheaded and nauseous. Plus, I just plain enjoy running up the stairs. If I’m with a group, and they take the elevator, I try to beat them to the floor we’re going to.

      (Like you, though, I can only go fast up stairs. I have to walk down them, otherwise I will probably fall.)

      But I absolutely do not care what choices anyone *ELSE* makes about how to get up and down. Sheesh.

    2. human Avatar

      Thank you, lilacsigil… that mental image of you taking out a staircase full of nose in the air skinny stair people just made my day :)

  14. Writer Writing Avatar

    I’m here almost a year late but FWD recommended this and I just want to thank you for posting it. I have been increasingly in need of taking the elevator as my knees deteriorate (my main knee injury occurred when I was wearing heels that were too loose and I tripped on the…wait for it!….stairs). I climb several small flights of stairs to reach my apartment at night and don’t really have a choice in the matter, unless I want to crawl up the steps. After days like yesterday, when I walked up and down our hilly campus running errands, my knees were very unhappy about going up and down stairs last night and today. I am constantly afraid of being berated for my need because I’m fat. And if I say my knees can’t take the stairs today, I’m afraid the retort will be to lose weight. I’ve probably done more damage to my knees by ignoring my limitations than by putting on weight.

    1. Michelle Avatar

      You’re not late! I wrote this back in January, but I just added it to my archives. So it’s old/new.

      I’ve probably done more damage to my knees by ignoring my limitations than by putting on weight.

      I wouldn’t doubt this a bit. A lot of my difficulties have come from ignoring my limitations and attempting to soldier on. I’m slowly learning not to do that anymore, because it always backfires in the end.

  15. Mel Avatar

    The place I work used to have a sign up (may still) that suggested that visitors save the environment by taking the stairs. It really irritates my boss because stairs are one of the things her nontypical toddler has problems with, and she figures that people who can take stairs already know taking stairs saves electricity.

    Other people’s stair choices: one of those things that’s not anyone else’s business.

  16. OTM Avatar

    This is so quietly revolutionary: “I’ve had foot injuries, knee injuries, and just a plain lot of weight to haul around, such that . . . I am just not real enthused about forcing myself to take additional stairs.”

    I just love it. I hate taking stairs, but feel like I should because I’m fat, yet being fat is part of what makes taking the stairs totally suck.

    1. Michelle Avatar

      Sometimes gravity works in our favour. Other times…not.

  17. Kaitlyn Avatar

    Also here because this post was mentioned at FWD.

    My health has been worse this semester – walking hurts, I’m not adding more pain if I can. Also, some staircases seem too steep and skinny when I’m not all right mentally – medication or just plain sleepy.

    I’ve been thinking more and more about stairs vs. elevators this semester because I’ve moved (not by choice, well there’s always a choice, but I was assigned this room) from the 3rd floor to the 9th. So it’s always okay for me to take the elevator, I have the “right.” At first, I felt guilty about the times I took it over the last 2 years when I was only 2 flights up. And I mentally groaned at somebody going to the 2nd floor.

    But then I worked hard to stop that kind of thinking, and I’m better off for it – less bitterness is always good.

    Unfortunately, some people feel the need to judge. Twice this semester, I have seen writing next to the 2nd floor button in the elevator at the dorm.

    The first time it was “merely” ableist – “Don’t push this.” A) a girl who uses a wheelchair lives on that floor. B) (and I didn’t think of this) people coming down from the 10th floor should walk all 8 flights now?

    This week it was sizeist and ableist and just so rude. I still feel good about reporting it.

    It said “GET YO FATASS ON THE STAIRS” (I want to write, “If the elevator stopping at floors bothers you, get *yo* fatass on the stairs.” Because stopping at the 5th is just as “annoying” as stopping at the 2nd.)

    I like stairs, I used to run down 4 flights in parking garages and beat my mom who took the elevator. Before the chronic pain got in the way, I even walked up and down from my new 9th floor perch a few times.

    The times I’ve taken an elevator “only” one or two stories up this semester, no one has said anything to my face, which makes me happy.

    However, I discover my sister judges those who take the elevator – she understand the comment was mean, but “BUT it’s a known college fact.. 2nd floor girls SHOULD NEVER take the elevator unless they have a legit reason.” And when I asked who determined the “legit reason,” she told me to calm down, “I think if you ride the elevator to/from the 2nd floor and you are completely capable of walking down/up ONE flight of stairs then you should just feel guilty because you’re making other people wait longer/being lazy. But I’m never gonna say anything to the people who do it. That’s their business. It’s just something I wouldn’t do.”

    Because she has the “right” to use the elevator, living higher up. She is also in good shape and much healthier than I am.

    I don’t like that she judges people, but at least she says she doesn’t say it to people, which is good.

    I haven’t seen any signs like “Stairway to Health” or any such programs. The only thing I remember is an ad for diabetes medication or insurance that praised the person who took the stairs.

    I love your site!

  18. Anna Avatar

    Wow, a flight a day will keep the chronic illness away? My husband was born with one of those chronic illnesses, so yeah – an extra flight of stairs would keep him pretty far away from me.

  19. Rigby Avatar

    One of the dorms here has 10 floors and anyone who takes the elevator to any floor below the fifth is derided. I was helping out another RA on the fourth floor, and I have a really bad leg, so I took the elevator. As I got off, one girl I was riding with called me a fatass. I can’t imagine how badly the judging would be if I was only visiting someone on the second floor.

  20. Lyndsay Avatar

    “There are no obligatory stairs to the bathroom in every restaurant.”

    So true. I moved to Toronto recently and have been noticing this. Also, would it have been that hard to build more escalators in the subway stations? Would it have been that hard to build elevators at every station too? It would help with bring a bike, a stroller and people with disabilities. I taught a practicum at Central Tech which has six floors and rarely used elevators. Thankfully OISE has six elevators though I’ll take stairs to the second floor if I think it’ll be quicker (which is usually). And yes, hauling heavy groceries home, especially in the cold, is not fun. I can relate!

  21. Kath Avatar

    I don’t use our stairs at work because they are hot, dirty and the doors don’t always work properly. But I still get “looks” when my male colleagues use them (one only because he’s bullied into it by another) and I say “I’ll meet you in the meeting room, I’m using the lift.”

    I live up a flight of stairs. I pop up and down them with ease and no thought, despite my “morbidly obese” body. How dare anyone judge me because I choose not to use them elsewhere.

  22. Chartreuse Avatar

    This astonishes me as well. A few weeks ago, my medical student peers were complaining, at the *hospital* of all places, about people taking one floor on elevators. I said something along the lines of, “they might have an invisible disability” and they responded “Yeah, right, what kind of thing would prevent someone from walking up a flight of stairs??” Sigh. I do find it helpful to have a list to rattle off of possible reasons:

    – anyone with a rheumatic illness (lupus, fibromyalgia, etc) who needs to ration their energy very carefully
    – anyone with joint problems or potential joint problems (osteoarthritis, sports injuries, etc)
    – anyone with a mental illness that increases fatigue, makes decision-making hard, etc (major depression, most notably)
    – anyone with a balance issue (vertigo, as mentioned above, but also simple aging related issues, and a million other reasons)
    – anybody who exercised too hard the day before and now has sore hamstrings or quads…

    1. Michelle Avatar

      I actually wrote an email to the hospital (can’t remember the dept. specifically, but whoever was responsible for the signs) about my concern for people judging those with disabilities and mobility issues, and got kind of a long non-response in return, saying stuff like, “That’s not our intent; people should know that these signs only apply to those who are able; these signs are targeting staff members and not patients or the general public,” blah blah blah.

      And I was thinking — like, what, no staff members of the hospital have disabilities? (Because, I assure you, many do.) And no patients or members of the general public are going to see these signs and assume they apply to them while they’re waiting for an elevator? It was just kind of stupid and totally unreflective on the part of the hospital, and it annoyed me greatly that they weren’t even willing to think about it.

  23. Kaitlyn Avatar

    Chartreuse – you forgot one group – people who *want* to take the elevator. They’re not some special privilege in most places.

    My high school’s elevator was restricted to teachers, staff, and students allowed to because of illness or injury. Or those taking carts up/down stairs.

  24. meerkat Avatar

    Amen. I don’t generally mind single flights of stairs but I take the escalator when there is one, and if there are three storeys’ worth of stairs I might go out of my way to find the escalator or even *horrified gasp* wait for the elevator. It’s mostly because I hate being out of breath in public, like people are going to judge me for being fat and out of breath. If not for that, I would have a lower tiredness/heavy-things-carrying threshold for taking the elevator up the two flights from the subway.

    1. meerkat Avatar

      Ah, I left out the part where I have seen “The stairs are always the healthier choice” (why don’t you take the stairs??? don’t you want to be healthy?!?) on the Fat-o-sphere feed itself. Disapprove.

      1. Bri Avatar

        Meerkat, Can you remember when or where (which blog) that was posted? As feed admin, I would like to know more about this…


    2. Michelle Avatar

      hate being out of breath in public, like people are going to judge me for being fat and out of breath.

      Yep, same here. I know this feeling well. I am very self-conscious about either sweating or being out of breath, because I have this feeling that people are going to be like, “Eeeew, look at the sweaty gasping fat lady!!!!” Which, you know, is what’s going to happen to anyone if they dare to exercise vigorously (or take a bunch of stairs) in public.

      I realize I shouldn’t care, but sometimes it’s hard not to.

  25. Kali Avatar

    Ugh, the stairs thing.

    I’ve got a huge heaping pile of invisible disabilities. And oh, the crap I get sometimes for taking the elevators…

    The last time someone gave me shit about it, I looked at him and said, “Look, I have a genetic condition that has screwed up all of my joints, especially my knees and hips. If I walk up the stairs, I risk falling down a flight of stairs – which has happened multiple times – and I’m going to be in more pain than you’ve ever experienced even if I don’t fall. You get your judgmental ass out of the elevator if that’s your choice, but don’t you dare lecture me on mine.”

    …he looked like he’d just been hit in the face. Guess they don’t expect people to tell them what their attitude looks like from this side of the fence.


    1. Tracy Avatar

      Bravo Kali!

  26. amelia logan Avatar
    amelia logan

    As a fellow dietetics student i definitely respect you for loving yourself no matter your size.
    I run a lot and my knee gets hurt a lot as a result. I remember a few days that I went to the gym and I felt like such a jerk because after running for 45 minutes I could hardly walk on the stairs. I had to take the elevator down a floor at the GYM! What a sin! It may not have looked like I needed to since I am in good shape and wasn’t limping or wearing an obtrusive brace.

    It just goes to show you can’t look at someone and know their story. Its a really huge waste of energy to even spend time thinking about other people for something so small as riding the elevator anyhow.

  27. Ija_Ijevna Avatar

    Taking the stairs/the elevator opposition as a base for a moral judgement? Jeez, it’s not even funny anymore, it’s downright discriminating. All the health/fitness issueas aside, using a lift it’s just a personal choice that hurts noone. To modify a wonderful phrase of someone on Shapely Prose, it’s a lift, not genocide!

    I like climbing. Sure, stair climbing or even using the gym stepper (mmm, elliptical…) can’t compare with the heady joy of high mountains, but still – I like it. Not for the supposed health it brings (not with my knees), and certainly not for the moral superiority (just ridiculous). I just happen to enjoy this specific kind of exercise.
    However I wouldn’t even dream of passing any kind of judgement, based upon the stairs/elevator factor. As you wrote, someone could have asthma, faulty knee, heart condition or simply (yes, shocking) a fancy to use an elevator.

    My 21 year old sister is a professional ballroom dancer. Her training schedule is 4-5 hrs of vigorous dancing in high heels five times a week, plus several hours long tournaments during weekends. It’s a veritable hell for legs. She always uses the elevator, and always sits in trams/buses simply not to collapse. As a consequence, she constantly has to deal with a moral outrage: a young, healthy girl? Why the hell won’t she use stairs? Why the hell won’t she stand in the public transport? Well, maybe because she needs some rest? Or maybe she just feels like it?

    Taking stairs won’t make you better. It won’t necessarily make you healthier. It’s not even guaranteed that it’ll make you happier. So why the high horse?
    /Sorry for any mistakes I made. English isn’t my first language./