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Staircases get calorie counts in new government-backed scheme

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Public staircases are soon to be labelled as exercise apparatus when a government-backed scheme comes into force to try and make office workers and commuters across the UK fitter.

Trials at three large office buildings, including the BBC in Manchester, found that signs advertising how many calories you could burn by taking the stairs increased the number of people using them by up to 29 per cent.

The scheme is based on nudge theory, which subtly influences people’s habits to help strengthen their hearts through short bursts of exercise.

Health experts class stair climbing – which burns more calories than jogging – as ‘vigorous’ exercise, and studies have suggested that climbing stairs for seven minutes a day could half the risk of heart attack over the next decade.

The new scheme, will see staircases labeled with calorie totals, was developed by StepJockey and funded by a £50m grant from the government’s Small Business Research.

The service uses an app and website. Users will be able to scan “smart signs” on the allocated stairways and track the amount of calories they burn over time.

The initiative is being adopted by a number of City firms in London as well as county council buildings in Hertfordshire.

The StepJockey website will allow anyone to map and rate a set of stairs for calorie burn as well as print off posters which can be added for others to start using the scheme.

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Public staircases are soon to be labelled as exercise apparatus when a government-backed scheme comes into force to try and make office workers and commuters across the UK fitter.
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