Regularly walking from floor to floor in an office building decreased mortality risk by 15 percent, said Dr. Philippe Meyer, the main author of the study, which was done at the University Hospital of Geneva.
Banning the use of lifts and escalators led to better fitness, less body fat, trimmer waistlines and a drop in blood pressure, the study found.
Using the stairs improves fitness, body composition, blood pressure and lipid profiles, Meyer was quoted as saying by the Swissinfo news website.
"The challenge remains to develop successful population-based interventions, which promote physical activities that can be easily integrated into everyday life," he said.
For the study, 77 employees from Geneva University with a sedentary lifestyle were recruited to take only the stairs over a three-month period, Swissinfo reported.
Results showed an increase in aerobic capacity, a decline in waist circumference, weight, fat mass, blood pressure and cholesterol.
"This suggests that stair climbing can have major public health implications." Meyer said.
Professor Adam Timmis, consultant cardiologist at The London NHS Trust, said: "It's a small study but valuable because it provides a practical way for busy working people to increase their exercise capacity.
"Although the amount of exercise appears small, the benefits were clear in improving physical fitness and reducing body fat and blood pressure." [Excerpt from www.iciba.com]