HealthDay News — Easy stair walking may boost energy more effectively than drinking caffeine, according to research published online recently in Physiology & Behavior.

The study included college women who said they were chronically sleep deprived, meaning they got less than 6.5 hours of sleep a night. On separate days, they consumed capsules with 50 g of caffeine (roughly the amount in a can of soda) or a placebo, or spent 10 minutes walking up and down stairs (about 30 floors in total) at an easy pace.

“We found, in both the caffeine and the placebo conditions, that there was not much change in how they felt. But with exercise they did feel more energetic and vigorous,” study coauthor Patrick O’Connor, PhD, a professor at the University of Georgia’s Department of Kinesiology in Athens, said in a university news release. The exercise boost was immediate but short-lived.

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The researchers wanted to focus on an easy and convenient way for office workers to be active. “Office workers can go outside and walk, but weather can be less than ideal. It has never rained on me while walking the stairs,” O’Connor said. He added that even a short walk up and down the stairs seems to make workers feel more motivated and refreshed.


Randolph DD, O’Connor PJ. Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep deprived young women [published online March 14, 2017]. Physiol Behav. 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.03.013.