The Elevator

Elevators.  Simple enough, right?  I mean, you all know what they are, and we’ve all used them before. Although, if you really want to read up on them, here you go.  Now that you’re caught up, what I’d like to discuss is elevator usage.

Who uses elevators?  Well, I suppose that we all do.  If you need to travel to the 9th floor of a building, when you’re bringing your luggage to the 3rd floor of the hotel, if you have a handicap, say you’re on crutches or in a wheelchair.  Obviously in these cases, elevators make it simple to travel from point A to point B.   Now, while these would be acceptable uses of elevators, I have a few thoughts on what are not acceptable uses of elevators.

If you are traveling less than 4 stories, you should not be on an elevator.  Unless you have an injury or incapacitation, then you’re just be lazy.  Seriously.  I think its a little ridiculous when I open the door to a stairwell, and when I walk into the hallway that is vertically adjacent, I see you getting off of the elevator.  Why is this ridiculous?  Well, if you think its because I’m stupid for taking the stairs when an elevator is conveniently located next to them, then you’re an idiot. It’s because you must be supremely lazy to actually wait for an elevator that will take you 10-12 feet up or down, when you can do it in the same amount of time upon your own locomotion.  By now, you might be asking why I bring this up.

There is an elevator, across the hall from a classroom of mine, on the 3rd and top floor of a building.  Since I’ve become a fan of people watching, and don’t really like sitting down (which I’ll explain sooner or later), I’ve taken to standing out in the hall and watching my fellow collegians on their travels to and from class.  When I began to observe and consider the population of habitual elevator users, I hypothesized this:  The people who use the elevator will tend to weight more, on average, than those who take the stairs.  I thought this, because of a few things.  Firstly, if you take the stairs, you burn more calories.  If you burn more calories, you will tend to be smaller than those who aren’t burning calories.  Duh.  Secondly, I figured that the people who take the elevator are lazy, and therefore fat.  (Yes, I know this is politically incorrect, and obesity politics will soon be a topic of discussion.)  While I expected this hypothesis to be correct, which it was for a certain period of time, I realized that I was wrong.  Well, half wrong.

What I have figured out is this:  While I can’t conclude correlation between obesity and elevator usage, I think I’m on to something a little more precise.   I haven’t seen a correlation between obesity (as defined by BMI) and elevator usage, but I have seen something that is similar.  While people who get off the elevator at the 3rd floor (on Mondays and Wednesdays between 1:45 and 2:oopm) are all shapes and sizes, what they do have in common is higher body fat percentages.  While I’m not standing there with calipers, scales, or a DEXA machine, I’m using my completely objective (note sarcasm) eyes and brain.  These are the people that I see get off of the elevator:  the ‘truly’ fat (for lack of a better term), and the ‘skinny’ fat.  For those of you who don’t know what I mean by skinny fat, here is a crash course:  Skinny girl, looks good in clothes.  Jiggles like jello in the nude, however.  Specifically, low BMI, but a high body fat percentage.  I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain what ‘truly’ fat people look like.  We know.

Okay, so what separates these two groups of elevator users is their Body Mass Index.  They are the outer ends of the bell curve; the heavies and the lights.  What they have in common is much more important; poor body composition.  I think that most people will agree, that 110lbs and 35% body fat is no better than 350lbs 35% body fat.  In fact, the 350lb person might end up being healthier than the slim little twig.  So while some people who get off the elevator might need to lose weight to increase their health, and others need to gain weight, they have the same goal;  improve their body composition.

Regardless of your health and fitness goals, unless you want to be a big tub o’ lard, everybody can benefit from improving their body composition.  Yes, EVERYBODY.  Whether you lose fat, put on muscle, or do a little of both, it will benefit you.  But this is for a different post.  Back to the elevator.

Seriously, stop being so lazy that you can’t walk up or down a few flights of stairs.  You were born with two feet, and I think you should adopt the idea of “if you don’t use it, you lose it”.  No, your feet won’t be hacked off if you use the elevator occasionally.  Although, that would be a good way of encouraging people to use their feet.  Sure, it takes a little bit more effort to trudge up the stairs than it does to push a button and wait, but if you make a conscious effort to take the stairs, your body will thank you for it.

And I wouldn’t need to bitch about your laziness, or your body composition.

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