Health Tips with Melusine: Stairs

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You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it, whether it came from a doctor, a healer, or a family member:

“Take the stairs–it’s healthier!”

– an ableist who probably fat shames on the side

But is it really?

The truth

While studies have shown that taking the stairs is not only a healthier alternative than an elevator–and, in some cases, may even save you time–there are people for which this advice is not only unhelpful, but dangerous.

Who needs an elevator?

“Sherie gets really bad vertigo,” said Deryn Smyth of her twin sister. I noticed Deryn helping Sherie up the stairs; once they were at the top, Sherie had to be rushed to the restroom because of her severe nausea. It was there that I collected a statement from the twins. “She can’t go up or down these stairs by herself–and it’s AOA. The only way to get from the portals to the main academy is to use the stairs.”

“I know that using the stairs is supposed to be healthier for you physically,” Sherie shared her input once she had emerged from the restroom. “But that isn’t the case for everyone. Some people need another way.”

Deandrae Mayne is another student at AOA who could greatly benefit from an alternative to stairs. As a merlad, the sophomore spends much of his time in the water–but outside of water, merfolk transform their tail into legs.

“When I was little, I was in a car accident with my parents,” he told me after swimming practice last Friday. As soon as the merlad is out of the water, he has to hoist himself into a wheelchair. “It left me partially paralyzed in both legs. I need this thing [the wheelchair] to get around campus. There’s not exactly water for me to use to transform and swim around–outside of practice and meets, of course–so what am I supposed to do? The best the school could offer was to assign Norae to me. She’s great and all, but I feel like the whole experience would be easier and more cost-effective to just put a couple elevators somewhere.”

Norae Shadowalker is an Enchanter and a member of the Hollingsworth Coven who specializes in levitation spells. While she does volunteer of her own volition and is a very pleasant person, even she understands where we’re coming from.

“It is unorthodox in this day and age to have a school without an elevator,” she opined. “Most mortal schools find a way around it by building their institutions out instead of up, eliminating the need for stairs or elevators. But in a school like this, it makes more sense to have at least one elevator from the portals to the main hall, and another from the intersection to the first floor.”

By the “intersection,” Mrs. Shadowalker is of course referring to the hallway where the main stairs meet with the literature and science wings. Because of the vast amount of foot traffic that takes place there, the students (and some staff) nicknamed it the intersection so as to not confuse it with the other stairs or lobbies. Norae’s opinion is one shared by many students and staff, such as Silver Discord, another volunteer Enchanter who frequently aids Borbonia Lewis, the committee chairperson for the Enchanter student council.

“When you attend a school as prestigious as AOA, there’s a level of independence that’s expected from you,” Silver pointed out. “I’m an alum–I remember what it was like. You guys are expected to act like adults even though you’re still technically children. You even have three different student councils, one for each classification, who are all expected to work together to make a case to the school board regarding issues such as these. So to have someone like myself, a volunteer, come in and assist you when you’re expected to be independent can be disheartening.”

“I love Silver! I get along great with them,” Borbonia said. “I actually don’t need their assistance everyday–some days I feel fine, but other days my ALS makes the stairs feel like I’m climbing Mount Everest. The faculty always suggests that I just stay home and have my parents request my school assignments from my professors, but why? I have to miss out on school occasionally when I’m stuck at a hospital overnight, but when the worst is stiff legs and slurring my words, why should I have to miss out on my high school experience? Let me bring my wheelchair. Let me see my friends and take part in committee meetings. Let me travel between floors without a helper.”

The bottom line:

Yes, the stairs can be a healthy alternative to an elevator, but that isn’t the case for everyone. Some students need elevators in order to attend classes on different floors without the help of a volunteer to levitate them or hoist them up and down stairs. We are a diverse, inclusive community of students and faculty, and we require diverse and inclusive options for travel.

So go ahead and take the stairs–just stop expecting everyone else to take them with you, and don’t call them out on their “laziness.” You never know what someone is going through.

Stay healthy, Citizens!

Melusine Jordan

Managing Editor/Sports Desk
& Health Enthusiast

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a healer or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


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