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Taking the stairs VS riding the elevator

31st January 2017 Print

Following the fitness revolution, our society are increasingly fit and healthy – but the question is: how many of you would opt to walk the stairs to the top of the world’s tallest buildings instead of riding the lift? Even some of the fittest workers would probably take the elevator to reach the top of these office blocks. 

But how long does it take to reach the tip of these buildings? Nifty Lift is a company that know a thing or two about large buildings, as they manufacture cherry pickers and other working at height platforms, and they’ve studied just how long it’d take to reach the top of these buildings compared to taking the lift.

Your walking speed can largely vary dependant on weight, build and fitness. There is gym equipment, like a stair stepper, which offers a good indication. The average stair stepper can reach up to 174 steps per minute, however, the average person would find it difficult to exceed 100 steps per minute. On average, you can burn around 0.17 calories per step you take. 

Disclaimer: We don’t expect any average person to actually manage 100 steps per minute up a skyscraper. You’d need to stop for rests! That figure also doesn’t take incline, elevation or members of the public slowing you down on stairwells. 

Taipei 101

This bamboo inspired, supertall skyscraper is situated in Taipei, Taiwan. Reaching 448 metres, the 101 floors command stunning views of the city. But how many stairs would you be tackling to reach the top? It has a tiring 2,046 steps to the top of the building. 

Based upon a stair stepper speed of 100 steps per minute, we can estimate that an elite stair runner could reach the top of the Taipei 101 in 20 minutes and 30 seconds – although that is without stopping to catch your breath, which is virtually impossible. For an average person to reach the top, you could burn around 347 calories which equates to a bacon sandwich! Is it worth it? 

Alternatively, you could ride its superfast elevator which takes only 37 seconds to reach the 89th floor! Easy eh? 

One World Trade Centre

Standing in defiance and memoriam of the 2001 terror attacks, the One World Trade Centre is the pride of Manhattan at 541m high. 

Workers who opt to take the stairs to reach a higher floor office must battle against the 2,226 stairs, which would take around 22 minutes and 15 seconds if climbing at a constant running pace. However, the record time stands at 14 minutes and 36 seconds – an average walker would burn around 378 calories reaching the top at a leisurely pace so imagine how many calories the champion burnt…

Of course, the building has a superfast elevator available which travels up to 23mph, and can reach the 102nd floor in 60 seconds!

Burj Khalifa

The world’s tallest building, one of Dubai’s best jewels, that holds the accolades for the highest number of stories, highest occupied floor, highest outdoor observation deck and the longest travel distance of any elevator. Reaching heights of 828 metres, the Burj Khalifa watches over Dubai city – yet is only 1/10th of the height of Mount Everest! 

With 2909 stairs to battle past, reaching the top of the Burj is a challenge even for some of the fittest. Even at your fastest ‘high cadence’, you’d have to spend 29 minutes and 5 seconds climbing, but perhaps only the most elite athletes on earth could manage such a speed across such a tall building. At a leisurely pace, you would still burn around 494 calories which is the equivalent to nearly a chicken nugget Happy Meal from McDonalds. Are you up for the challenge?

Of course, the Burj has an elevator to take away the challenge. The lift travels 600m/minute. You can ride the lift for only 1 minute 22 seconds to reach the top. 

Final thoughts

It seems fairly obvious that for all bar the most physically inclined people, the elevators of the world’s tallest buildings are a must-use. However, for those looking for a challenge, taking the stairs presents a calorie-burning, endurance-testing experience.