The Fun Project: Easy Ways to Change Lives

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Being healthy isn't just about the end result or the big picture. It's about every decision we make in life, every day, all day.

Doughnut or oatmeal?

Happy hour or Spinning class?

Hit the sack or watch TV?

Making small, smart decisions daily--and building on them--is one of the backbones of the SparkPeople philosophy. Our successful members know that the choices they make everywhere--not just at the drive-thru, the dinner table, and the gym--all have an influence on their overall health and well-being. It isn't just at mealtimes and during workouts when we're faced with healthy decisions.

Those decisions don't have to be boring or tedious; quite often, being healthy and improving your life can fun as well. That's what The Fun Project, a site sponsored by Volkswagen is counting on. They say:

"This site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change peopleís behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that itís change for the better."

Becky, our head dietitian, sent this video to the entire SparkPeople team over the weekend. We wanted to share it with you:

The idea: More people will take the stairs if you make it fun. Do you agree?

I am one who always takes the stairs, especially when I travel and might not have much time to work out during my trip. On Sunday, en route from New York to Ohio via Detroit, I skipped the moving sidewalks and sky tram in Detroit and the escalators at La Guardia so I could get my heart pumping a bit. I am fit and healthy, thus capable of climbing stairs; I try to squeeze in fitness throughout my day; and I don't like standing still!

I really dislike standing on escalators, moving sidewalks, etc., even if I'm carrying heavy luggage. (I consider hauling luggage to be a bonus workout!) Last week, my friend and I stayed on the sixth floor of a guest house in the East Village. We sprinted the stairs every time we returned to our suite to get in some anaerobic fitness minutes! I wouldn't call that "fun" but boy did it give our legs a workout!

Being stationary for no good reason feels like such a waste of time. If you are able to move your legs, why don't you? Standing on an escalator is a serious test of my patience, and I usually smile and politely ask to pass people who are standing--and they usually start walking themselves!

I'm sure some of you would argue that people movers allow you to take pause and enjoy a moment of rest.

Are you one who takes the stairs, or do you prefer people movers?

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I am a stair person myself unless I am actively suffering from an injury. I look forward to the hustle in an airport during a layover to get my heart pumping and take stairs when I stay at hotels. Report
Oh my gosh!!! This video had me lol. This is beautiful. To see the smiles on their faces is incredible.

Thank you for sharing!!
Thought this was a really great test, and it was interesting how people reacted. Report
It would be great to watch this live. I always take the stairs if I am alone, but when I am with someone else, I am a follower and unfortunately not a leader. We then usually take the escalators and walk up it. Report
Cute. Having bad knees though, I'll stick with the escalator. For some seniors, people with heart conditions, or the othopedically challenged, those people movers can be the healthiest route. It's nice to have options! Report
It would be fun for a couple of days, then it would just be annoying. Report
I hate to be the skeptic, but.... the test would be, keeping the modified stairs exactly as they are, how long will it remain a novelty? And after that, will all those people revert to the escalator? I kind of think so.

I generally take the stairs, but not always. sometimes, I'm lazy or in hurry or just do it out of habit. Report
I prefer to take the stairs depending on the weight of my luggage and wether my spouse will be visible or not he is a moving walkway taker. Report
How cool is that! We have some rather creative people in this world! I wish we had something like that in my town! I think I would stop by to take the stairs whenever I was in the area! Report
What fun! There were many others on YouTube. My fav was the one that got people to recycle their bottles and plastics into something that looked like an arcade game. People literally stood in line to recycle. Report
This was great!
It is amazing how doing something so small would make people change the route they took, maybe these people are unto something?
I take stairs when I don't have to go out of my way to find them, otherwise I will take the elevator. Report
Hi sparkers,
Great to read so many of you take the stairs! I'm very guilty of taking the easy route when available. It's kind of mindless. I promise to make more of an effort to use the stairs. It's such a no-brainer! I'd love to play for awhile on these ones!
Jo Report
This is greatt!! I LOVE IT!! Report
That made me smile and laugh. Very cool. Looks like fun! Report
I think it's a neat idea, although it would cause ME to use the escalator more. I already can't stand how noisy places are! I ALWAYS take the stairs when I'm somewhere that they are an option, but unfortunately, I wouldn't there! Report
Cute idea, but I would have to avoid it because of my tendency toward auditory processing overload. What a cacophony to an autistic like me! I appreciate the creativity though.

I've never needed external motivation to take stairs. I always feel better in motion. Report
Wish we had stairs like that! When DH & I were in San Diego, I got my exercise by climbing the stairs up and over the convention center. Made a great workout! Saw quite a few folks running up & down the stairs for exercise there. Report
The stairs look awesome!! what a fun way to get your exercise. I admit, I am guilty (who isn't) of just standing on the moving sidewalks...I have been trying to change my "walking"..I park farther away at work...what's fun about that? in the sub zero temps, I walk about 25 more steps than anyone else...and I like it...they think I am crazy, but when I tell them I'm adding to my work out...they just look at me. Adding fun to your work out...great idea!!! Report
Awesome. Love the idea, looks like so much fun. Report
I love this! I always get frustrated on an escalator when people don't move, or stay to the right so you can pass on the left. Those and moving sidewalks -- they're not Disney rides! Report
The stairs were awesome! That said, I enjoy my minutes of lazy and go for people movers sometimes. I live in the middle of Alaska and it gets -40F in the winter. For my job, I have to park down in a parking lot and then either walk or ride a shuttle up to my building. It is a 5-10 minute walk, but in the winter I wait for the bus.

When I first lost weight I thought I had to take every healthy opportunity, but taking that particular healthy opportunity was making me miserable. I carry a lot of gear (my workout bag included!) and it was hurting my back, my eyelashes would frost over and stick together, I wouldn't be able to carry a coffee too, I was always paranoid about slipping on the ice and on and on and on. It sounds very whiny, but it just made me too cranky at 7:45am. Sometimes I'll walk back to my car after work in the winter and in the summer I'll walk both ways. I take stairs and walk other places, but that part of my morning commute I finally decided I would rather be a slacker and sit quietly on a warm, safe bus for a couple minutes collecting my thoughts for the day. Report
I'd take the people mover if it is there. BUT, since I've lost weight walking up stairs sure is easier than it was when I was so fat. Report
As with most of the other comments, I too try to park farther away than most and take the stairs when available. At airports, our girls take the "people mover" and my hubby and I "race" while we walk alongside. Report
I take the stairs when ever i can . i park the car far from the store and walk to shop also . Report
I take the stairs. If I am really in a hurry at the airport, walking IS FASTER than the people mover! Just remember to be safe--stair wells can be dangerous places. Report
A friend posted this on her Facebook page - love it! I generally take the stairs anyways - but this would definitely make it more fun. Report
What a fun video and such a great idea.
I live on the 6th floor and my classes are on the 2nd and I always take the stairs (except when I have my "baby stroller" full of laundry/groceries/misc items, although that is maybe once a month at most) Report
You were in my neighborhood! There are a lot of walkup apartments around here. Hauling loads of laundry and groceries up the stairs is a great workout. I'm glad that I never lived in an elevator building and even happier that I currently live on the ground floor. Report
I always take the stairs but am pretty sure piano stairs would make me take the escalator. I seriously am not a person who wants to call attention to myself.

I also think stairs are faster. Report
What fun!!! Report
I totally believe in this (if you make it fun people will do it). I'm trying to find those activities that are fun to me to incorporate into the routine - biking, geo-caching. Stuff that is exercise but doesn't feel like it. Report
I Love it. Fun video. Report
Love it!!! I'm a mover and shaker so I'll take the stairs unless I'm with my mom who can't move as fast but this video is great and the article is too. Report
That's a fun video! I need to start making more things in my life fun, it would make doing those chores that much easier! Report
I used to alway take the easy way until I got serious about weight loss. Now I always use the stairs or avoid the people movers for a workout, especially when travelling.
I would love to play on those stairs though! What a riot! Report
I love this, and the idea really works! however, due to knee issues, I will probably still take people movers and escalators. Report
Very cool! Report
I saw "Piano Stairs" about a year ago, and everytime I walk up a flight of stairs I think how cool would it be to have them be piano stairs. Definitely would make climbing stairs more fun. Report
very cool Report
At my last job, I worked on the 6th floor & always took the stairs. They were nice big, airy stairways in the center of the building. It was enjoyable. Now I work in a different building on the 16th floor and the stairways are cramped and stuffy & mostly there as a fire escape. It's not terribly pleasant. As a result, I rarely take the stairs here. I do usually take the stairs instead of escalators/elevators in malls and other places. Unless they are icky or dark or smell bad (like in some urban parking garages). The fun factor definitely works with me. Report
That was cool. I sometimes do take the stairs and sometimes i don't.
although those piano steps do look fun and i think it would make me take the stairs more often:)
Not until nearly the end of the video did I realize the stairs were a piano keyboard, and :)ed. I thought at first that more people were walking up the white carpet on the right because it was more inviting (a red carpet effect, plus normal US and Swedish traffic's on the right). Funny too that it's sponsored by VW (not Volvo since Saab's now Dutch). Report
I like the stairs. When I moved into the dorm in college, I was on the 4th floor, no elevator. Two weeks later I was walking around holding my pants up ... I lost pounds quick! Wish I had stairs (more than one flight) here at work! Report
I work on the 4th floor and have started out taking one floor at a time to build up my "movement", not as much fun but it will help in the long run! Report
I want piano stairs at the mall. Heck, I want piano stairs in my house! I guess for the time being, I'm going to have to imagine the notes. At home, that won't be an issue. At the mall, I'm pretty sure people will think I'm crazy hopping up and down the stairs playing an imaginary melody. Report
I totally agree with what you're saying. I used to work in an 18 storey office tower and I always took the stairs (a number of us did). The first few were "short" flights because of the parkade, but I was in excellent shape. People we worked with couldn't believe that we often beat the elevator due to the number of stops it had to make. It was such an easy way to keep in shape, I didn't need an exercise program back then, my life was a program in exercise. Report
I work on the 3rd floor and I take the stairs. In an effort to save some $$, I moved my car to a less expensive garage that is .5 mile from my office. I walk both ways most days. It is a nice way to unwind plus I sneak in a little more exercise. I can always take the free shuttle when it gets 100+ here is AZ! Report
I always take the stairs . . . it's such a simple way to get more movement into my day. I sit at a desk all day long, so short walks and taking the stairs help me wake up in the middle of a loooong afternoon. Report
It was inspiring to see the people choose the stairs rather than the escalator. I loved seeing the smiles on their faces when they reached the top. Report
I'm definitely a stair-taker! When I'm forced to take an escalator, like at Denver International Airport, I try to jump on first so I can walk up and not get blocked by people with wheeled luggage. We also take advantage of the airport to take long walks, sometimes circling the terminals multiple times. Report
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