I've written before about how lazy I am, but how, since fitness helps my career, relationships, and mood, I find ways to integrate it into my life without taking time or resources away from the rest of it -- and in fact, have found that exercise consistently gives to the rest of my life.

Today, let's talk stairs.

I live on the fifth floor, and I come and go from home several times a day.

If I take the elevator, I have to make extra time to exercise for the time I'm standing in the elevator depriving myself of getting my heart pumping.

But it's faster and more convenient to take the stairs and not spend the same time making myself more lazy. So I take the stairs every day.

The story is that there isn't much of a story -- just a small one-time choice leading to widespread benefit.

Is it right for you? I can't say for sure, but you can try and find out. What do you have to lose?

If your building doesn't have accessible stairs, you can find equivalents. Opportunities to move your body abound -- parking far from the building entrance, biking or walking instead of driving, gardening, and so on.

Taking the stairs and creating mental freedom.

In fact, taking the stairs has become my standard for creating mental freedom.

I used to decide between the stairs and elevator each time I came home. The problem was that if I was thinking about something important, this minor choice would displace those thoughts.

I decided to choose once and for all. The stairs won. Besides the exercise and all of its benefits, I got the mental freedom of no longer displacing important thoughts with that decision-making process.

I've applied this lesson across my life: if I can systematize a consistent choice, I do. The calories burned in taking the stairs even when I'm tired is nothing compared to the mental distraction of life's innumerable choices.

More results.

Last weekend I went to a friend's for brunch. He's an excellent cook. I knew I'd eat a lot, so I took the stairs.

He lives on the 20th floor.

That's a benefit of always taking the stairs at my home. I don't always take the stairs in every building, but when I feel like exerting myself, I can, and it feels great.

(I won't lie that I was pleasantly surprised to see his building had no 13th floor, so reaching the 14th floor came early.)