At the entrance of Ocean Terminal in Hong Kong, these stairs feature a five-metre-high reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s signature painting “Sunflowers”.
The Grouse Grind® is a 2.9-kilometre trail up the face of Grouse Mountain. Those who climb its 2,830 stairs start from 274 metres above sea level (900 feet) to 1,127 metres (3,700 feet) at its summit.
The Incas, masterful builders and architects, were fascinated by stairs. Their temples looked like giant staircases and they farmed on an elaborate terrace system. They invented ‘floating stairs’ enabling them to climb the steep mountain walls. Imagine the Inca people swiftly and nimbly moving up or down on slabs they had inserted into the wall. No handrail, of course.
Aeriosa, a small Vancouver-based dance company is not studio-bound. Julia Taffe and her group of dancers use mountaineering skills and climbing hardware to work with gravity, rather than against it. No pointe shoes, no skirts of tulle and feathers. Instead, they have carabiners, pulleys, mechanical braking systems, climbing harnesses, rope and running shoes.
With gravity as a partner, the company creates vertical dance – awe-inspiring spectacles on the sides of buildings, or on sheer cliffs of rock; performances that are strange, disconcerting and breathtaking at the same time.
How would you respond if these words were on a sign posted by a staircase?
- Encouraging cues do work.
In a 2013 study, 49 per cent more subway riders in Singapore chose the stairs over the escalators when signs such as “I want to climb the stairs to fitness” were posted over a four-week period.
- Increasing stair use results in measurable health improvements.
A study at the University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland took a battery of health measurements from 77 employees before and after a 12-week campaign in which posters and floor stickers encouraged stair use. The results, published in the European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation, showed that the workers had increased the number of flights ascended and descended from 4.5 a day to 20.6 a day, and as a result had increased their aerobic fitness by 9.2 per cent. They also lost weight and significantly improved blood pressure and cholesterol scores.
- Taking the stairs saves time.
Doctors at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital published a lighthearted study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2011. For 56 trips ranging from one to six stories, the stairs took an average of 13.1 seconds per floor (without “rushing”) while the two sets of elevators took 37.5 and 35.6 seconds per floor, including the time spent waiting. That adds up to a savings of about 15 minutes a day – enough to make an impression on time-pressed health-care workers.
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Walk the route taken by feudal lords, samurai, traveling merchants and pilgrims in seventeenth-century Japan. The Nakasendo Way literally means ‘the road through the mountains’. These days, this well-preserved path is a quiet respite from the busier roads of life.
It is an easy journey, meant to be taken at a comfortable pace. The walking tour begins in the ancient capital of Kyoto, passes through picturesque old towns near Nagoya and finalizes in Tokyo. Accommodation in traditional Japanese inns, transport and assistance with baggage are all part of the experience.
“There’s all sorts of walking –
from heading out across the desert in a straight line
to a sinuous weaving through undergrowth.
ridges and talus slopes is a specialty in itself.
It is an irregular dancing – always shifting – step of walk on slabs and scree.
The breath and eye are always following this uneven rhythm.
It is never paced or clocklike, but flexing –
little jumps – sidesteps –
going for the well-seen place to put a foot on a rock, hit flat, move on –
zigzagging along and all deliberate.
The alert eye looking ahead, picking footholds to come, while never missing the step of the moment.
The body-mind is so at one with this rough world
that it makes these moves effortlessly once it has had a bit of practice.
The mountain keeps up with the mountain.
Quote by: Gary Snyder “Blue Mountains Constantly Walking”
Quoted in: Rebecca Solnit’s “Wanderlust” http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1419449-wanderlust-a-history-of-walking