Most people, given the choice of taking the stairs or using the elevator, would
choose the latter – a good explanation for why over half of Israelis are
overweight or obese. The Israel Forum for a Healthy Lifestyle has decided to do
something about it.
Adapting a German idea, in which stairs were
reconstructed to look like piano keys that actually sounded out notes when
stepped on, the forum instead had threedimensional- like color paintings placed
at the foot of staircases between the railway station and the Azrieli shopping
center in Tel Aviv.
The paintings look as if children are climbing out of
a wadi or flying dinosaurs are walking about a canyon.
They will be on
view from Tuesday.
The forum placed hidden cameras near the staircases to
document how many people used them before they were ornamented with the 3D-like
paintings, and continue doing so during the two weeks they are in place to
compare the two figures.
The experiment in Germany found that before the
stairs there became a playing piano, over 60 percent of pedestrians used the
But after the stairs played a tune with users’ feet, use of
the stairs increased significantly.
It is expected that the scenes
between the railroad station and the tower will attract many tens of thousands
of pedestrians to go up and down the staircases.
They will remain at the
site for two weeks, as they involve a complicated construction that cannot
remain permanently there, the forum explained.
The project is the first
of its kind in Israel to be launched by the forum, with cooperation from the
Azrieli center and the Clal health insurance company. The idea is based on “fun
theory,” in which it is believed that people will make an extra effort to be
active for something that looks enjoyable.
At the end of the two weeks,
the annual race up the stair in one of the three Azrieli towers will be held to
celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Forum chairman Nir Laor said Monday that
he hoped the paintings and the race will increase awareness among the public to
undertake physical activity on a daily basis. Too many park close to their
destination or use the elevator so they don’t have to walk, he said, even though
taking 10,000 steps a day have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases
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