Tuesday: Health and Fitness

Don’t Just Stand There

Sometimes, modern inventions–ideas brought into being by the ingenuity, creativity, and brilliance of humanity–bring out the worst in people. If you’re ready to fight this one, stop and think about it: Facebook, cellphones, satellite TV, crystal meth. All human creations, all contributing to the slow, sad decline of the human race. But there’s one invention above all others that truly showcases our fundamental laziness in all its bloated glory: the escalator.

Oh, how I hate the escalator, for all that it stands for and all that it brings out in people. I deal with escalators daily in New York City, and I will go out of my way (walking up or down three or five or more flights of stairs) just to avoid them, because my blood boils at the hordes of able-bodied people standing, slack-jawed, willfully refusing to move their bodies simply because an easier choice is offered them. Just like the people who take a car eight blocks to their gym to walk on a treadmill, most people will wait in a bottleneck to get on an escalator just to stand idly, gaping at their smartphones with the now-characteristic hunch of the modern-day hominid, rather than use the minimal muscles and energy required to propel themselves up a few short steps to their destination. 

We have made life too easy, and we all know it’s bad for us. We no longer have to move or think to survive. At some point in the not too distant past, we had to use our brains to outsmart deadlier animals; we had to use our bodies to find food and shelter. The ease with which we can get through our day–and through our entire lives–without any discernible effort is scary, and it’s turning us into sick, sluggish creatures that our recent ancestors probably wouldn’t recognize.

Unless you are carrying a load or have an injury, there is no reason for anyone to stand still on an escalator, ever. You are lazy, and that laziness will seep into the rest of your life. It might sound a little extreme, but your willingness to put in a little effort, even in small, everyday tasks, is what keeps your body and mind tuned and prepared and open for life’s opportunities. 

If you have a choice of following the sad, shuffling masses up the escalator, or bounding unfettered up the stairs, take the road less traveled. You won’t regret it.



Twitter: @NYMoves
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2 responses to “Tuesday: Health and Fitness

  1. I completely agree with this post, technology is making it too easy for people to be lazy. However my “relationship” with the escalator is slightly different; I didn’t have one in my city, so as a kid to go on one, was the best thing ever.

  2. I take it you’ve never walked up the stairs at 181st street. If ever there was a time to take the escalator, it’s there. That being said – people who stand on the escalator going down need to be taken out back and thrown in a cold lake.


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