Elevators = Our Enemies

Here’s a random thought that’s been in my head for quite some time: Are elevators slowly killing us? Ok, maybe that’s a bit harsh. Perhaps, Are elevators messing up our bodies? (especially our knees) is a better question.

I’ve heard plenty of personal trainers and life coaches on morning shows (like the Today Show) say things like, “Health Tip! Don’t ride the elevator, take the stairs.” or “Use the opposite escalator and turn your trip into a StairMaster session.” Ok, no one has probably said that second one, but although it’s a bit dangerous, I still think it’s a good idea.

It’s not the elevator vs the stairs that I think is the problem. The main reason why I think elevators are slowly killing us (or ruining our bodies) is the intense braking. Think about any time you’ve ridden an elevator and it comes to a halt to open the doors, don’t you feel that in your knees? Especially when in a tall building.

Now in my 30s, I have many friends with “knee problems,” and I have them too. I’ve heard people say things like, “Oh, I used to play sports in high school.” Sports in high school, really? That was four years of your life — and you probably weren’t an elite athlete. How long have you been riding in elevators? Oh, and you continue to ride them today? I think we’ve found our problem, Mr. (or Mrs.) ex-high school athlete.

How many elevators do you take each day? Do you live in an apartment and ride an elevator every time you leave or come back home? Do you work in a building? Maybe it’s a skyscraper and the elevator travels 80 floors in the matter of a few seconds. Do you know how fast it’s moving? I don’t, but maybe we should google that. Those are some intense brakes for the elevator to be able to quickly stop at any given floor.

So, if you live in an apartment building and work in a different building and go out to eat lunch in another building and do even more building things each day imagine your daily elevator rides (DERs). (1) You ride down to leave your house, (2) You ride up to your office, (3) it’s lunch time and you want to leave, you go back down, (4) you go to a Nordstrom cafe, it’s upstairs, but you take the elevator, (5) you leave Nordstrom, (6) back up to your office, (7) the bathroom on your floor is broken, ride down one floor, (8) ride back up, (9) time to go home, (10) back up to your apartment, (11 & 12) take out the dog, and bring him back up.

And that’s just in one day. Twelve elevator rides later I’m sure there’s something wrong with your knees, maybe even with your inside parts from all the movement (I guess I would feel the same about planes, if I were someone who traveled by plane weekly). Who knows? I’m no scientist, but elevators are definitely going to be the downfall of humankind.

So, how can we fix this problem? I have the perfect solution. Remember when you were a kid and you would jump in the air when the elevator was braking to reach maximum air? (If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you must have been a nerd or a narc). But if we all start doing that again then we’ll be fine — also, it may even help humanity evolve so that one day we’ll all jump as high as MJ, from birth.