The Fun Project: Easy Ways to Change Lives


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  108 comments   :  19,932 Views

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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  • 58
    When I worked in CC Philly I usually took the train. My job limited my time at the gym so I would try and make it up other places. I would park 1.5 miles from the train and walk no matter what the weather, I always took the stairs out of the subway tunnels and then the stairs to the 8th floor and then 5th when my office moved. Even now that I changed jobs and have time to work out I still take the steps when I walk around the hospital. I can climb the steps 5-6 times a day. And I have been in a hotel for about 8 months on the 6th floor and 90% of the time I walk the stairs to the 6th. I just like to move and I figure since I am pretty good at tracking my actual workout minutes, these little bursts are EXTRA that are not tracked:-) They are like my little workout stash of burned calories... - 2/2/2011   10:30:22 AM
    Always been a "stairs" user and done "the piano stairs method" on my own should of patent the idea ever since I can remember....I kinda like using my own feet to walk.not being walked by moving floors..BORING.. if ya'll can relate..ha ha - 2/2/2011   10:23:09 AM
  • OXFORD2011
    @MarianD123, I almost teared up a bit as well; Why?Because 'we' are all 'humankind', so much alike, so curious, respond to encouragement etc. I love this video, and would love to have duplicates here in the states. - 2/2/2011   10:18:39 AM
    Thanks! I wish that staircase was close to me - I'd make a trip just to play on it for a while! Wonder how many people actually tried to play a song??? - 2/2/2011   10:14:47 AM
  • 54
    Most of the time I opt for more exercise and take the stairs. However, if I am carrying something awkward or especially heavy, I use a "people mover". - 2/2/2011   10:14:06 AM
  • MARIAND123
    Ok I am wierd. I cried. to see even the man helping his little child enjoy the stairs. and the older people that were having trouble walking take the stairs. that was awesome. - 2/2/2011   10:06:44 AM
    Absolutely loved this video. What a great idea. So much fun and what a change in people's behavior! Thank you!

    I try to take the stairs when given the choice. It's usually faster, even without any sound! - 2/2/2011   9:58:01 AM
  • 51
    I have always took stairs, until, lately. I need some replacement surgery, so now need an elevator. - 2/2/2011   9:23:20 AM
    I love this! Stairs for me all the time, but I would sure love to have piano stairs to make it fun! - 2/2/2011   9:15:47 AM
  • 49
    Great ideas! I always take the stairs, and yes, even when I'm carrying heavy luggage. I've seen this video before, so cool! I think the idea is fantastic. - 2/2/2011   9:02:34 AM
  • 48
    AWESOME! - 2/2/2011   8:40:14 AM
  • 47
    Being able to do stairs without thinking about it saved my daughter and I a lot of time waiting in lines when we were being tourists in Europe! Line for elevator to first level of Eiffel Tower - 45 minutes. Line to walk up stairs to same level - 3 minutes. We were at the first platform level while people still had 30 minutes to wait in line! And there were fun exhibits along the stairway... bonus! - 2/2/2011   8:26:04 AM
  • 46
    I soooooo want to go there!! :) I always climb the escalator (and sometimes the stairs if its too busy... although am usually majorly out of breath at the top) - think its 50% fitness, 50% lack of patience! :) - 2/2/2011   8:15:02 AM
  • 45
    Stairs!!!! - 2/2/2011   7:33:03 AM
  • 44
    I usually take the stairs, except at work, an old building whose stairs are just killers for me, they are steep and uneven, I can't walk up without being totally out of breath no matter my fitness level..and it is NO FUN feeling that way for even a few minutes.. But I totally agree with the idea that I am more likely to do something that is fun to do..I'm liking this idea a whole lot!! - 2/2/2011   6:27:58 AM
  • 43
    I like to use stairs, especially after long ride in cramp, sardine-can-style commuter. And it always feel good to walk (or even run!) the stairs next to the overly crowded slow-moving escalator and feel the eyes of people looking at me (maybe some of them thinks, wow, others is that girl crazy, running?!!) I wish we have something fun in the office so that people prefer use stairs than lifts. It's annoying when you've to carry heavy stuffs in the lift and people with no burden use lift from ground to first floor! If you just want to chat, you can have longer talk on stairs instead of lifts :D - 2/2/2011   6:08:42 AM
  • 42
    I always,always used to take the stairs. I used to work on the the 6th floor of a building and never took the elevator. Recently, I work in a building where you can't take the stairs but in between our office floors you could and I did that several times a day. Now, I have mobility issues and cannot. I miss it so much - 2/2/2011   5:50:58 AM
  • 41
    That video was so much FUN to watch! It made me smile through and through.

    I usually take the stairs. - 2/2/2011   5:25:08 AM
  • 40
    That video was so much FUN to watch! It made me smile through and through.

    I usually take the stairs. - 2/2/2011   5:25:07 AM
    Stairs are great. I went on a cruise last summer and was worried about all the food so I used the stairs as much as possible - 2/2/2011   4:42:08 AM
  • 38
    Loved the musical stairs! I'll have to suggest it to our committee for the national convention in 2012. - 2/2/2011   2:40:12 AM
    awesome video - great idea for encouraging us to take the stairs! - 2/2/2011   1:42:07 AM
  • 36
    haha i love this video. even though i have a bad leg i always take the stairs. wish this was in my town i'd probably LIVE in the place!! - 2/2/2011   12:14:44 AM
  • 35
    Heh, my dad has been teasing me because he says 10 years ago I never would have considered working out and now I do. But that's not true--I did periodically start working out; it just never lasted very long. The difference is that I have learned how to make it fun. It's not always the biggest calorie burner--but if it's a lot easier to go do something if I enjoy doing it.

    As far as stairs vs. escalators... I often take the escalators, but I climb them like stairs; the only time I don't is if I'm dealing with heavy luggage that is too awkward or difficult on stairs. My motivation is rarely exercise, though--I'm just impatient to get where I'm going and I can move faster if I climb the escalator--even faster than I can on stairs unless the escalator is crowded and the stairs aren't. - 2/2/2011   12:09:48 AM
  • 34
    I loved this!! I always say...If You make things fun... people will do it. Especially with children learning something new that might be difficult... UNTIL THE FUN BEGINS!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING! - 2/1/2011   11:30:34 PM
  • 33
    I would love to try these --I use stairs more often since joining Spark. Good idea about the airport - I travel frequently. - 2/1/2011   11:29:17 PM
  • 32
    Omgosh, that is awesome!
    Definitely inspires me to take the stairs even more... not that I encounter many in my regular day, but still ^_^ - 2/1/2011   11:13:03 PM
  • 31
    Very interesting video. Such a simple technic and it works! - 2/1/2011   11:12:52 PM
  • 30
    I take the stairs going up sometimes but avoid going down due to stiff knees and balance issues. I often walk on a rolling sidewalk so I get where I am going faster because oftimes at airports I am in a hurry.

    Would love to have the piano stairs available in big cities.

    Jane on Guam - 2/1/2011   11:04:43 PM
  • 29
    Fun video...I wanna play "chopsticks!" :) - 2/1/2011   11:03:56 PM
  • 28
    One way we move more... When we have to park in a parking garage we go to the top. One, there is usually lots of parking to pick from and two, we take the stairs so there are more of them. - 2/1/2011   10:44:17 PM
  • JUDE322
    i try to take the stairs as much as possible. i certainly would use these stairs. notice how many people are going up and down again and again. great way to get in fitness minutes - 2/1/2011   10:28:35 PM
    usually end up on escalators, but more often than not, I'll walk them. if stairs are an option (over the elevator or escalator), I'll take them instead about half the time

    I tend to walk on the peoplemovers at the airport too - 2/1/2011   10:21:35 PM
  • 25
    I prefer steps also; the are never crowded. I really liked the video! - 2/1/2011   10:16:34 PM
  • 24
    I prefer stairs. When I have no but the escalator, I walk up, passing people. - 2/1/2011   10:14:53 PM
  • 23
    I like the stairs! That piano stairs was a great idea! - 2/1/2011   10:04:09 PM
  • 22
    I feel same way about people movers- especially at airports after a long flight I seriously need to move! There are a few great children's playgrounds around with musical paths that are a delight to run through... Very clever & simple design. - 2/1/2011   10:02:47 PM
  • 21
    I LOVE that. It is my philosophy with exercise. We don't need government forced health care, we need FUN activity built into everyone's day as incentive to move and make better choices. - 2/1/2011   9:43:50 PM
  • 20
    THAT'S A GREAT IDEA! I LOVE IT. - 2/1/2011   9:41:27 PM
  • 19
    I live on the 15th floor and said I should start walking up this year. If I had piano steps you know I would have started already. I try to take the steps as much as possible - 2/1/2011   9:34:13 PM
  • 18
    Oh my I love those stairs! I wish I could get some....LOL - 2/1/2011   9:08:25 PM
  • 17
    What a great idea to increase people's use of the stairs! I would love to walk up them! - 2/1/2011   8:58:46 PM
    I always take the stairs anyway, but taking the "piano stairs" looks like a blast. However, I'd never get any work done if they put them in my building at work. I'd be too busy composing! LOL - 2/1/2011   8:56:20 PM
    I prefer the stairs except at the airport. However I love the piano stairs and would use them if they were at our airport. - 2/1/2011   8:41:57 PM
  • 14
    stairs down escalator up....but it depends... everything is a possible work out for exercise... like parking the car further away - 2/1/2011   8:18:36 PM
  • 13
    I am so out of shape that walking up a flight of stairs leaves me short of breath so i would probably take the escalator or elevator. BUT i AM working on this. When i move back to my old apartment i live on the seventh floor so i will have stairs to climb where i live. I'm looking forward to becoming more active. This was a fun blog, thank youn for sharing. Especially the piano stairs!!

    Gayle - 2/1/2011   8:13:35 PM
  • 12
    A great way to teach and trick the younger generation into thinking stairs are more fun than escalators. What a brilliant idea! - 2/1/2011   7:49:29 PM
    What a great idea! Except I'd probably never get anywhere on time because I'd be having too much fun playing on the stairs!

    - 2/1/2011   7:47:09 PM
  • 10
    Great video! Fun - 2/1/2011   7:41:43 PM
    I want those in my neighborhood! - 2/1/2011   7:37:33 PM

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