Moscow train commuters were given that opportunity in the lead up to the Sochi Olympics.
Part of a promotion for the Winter games, train passanger at the Vystavochnaya station could perform 30 squats in exchange for a train ticket which would normally cost about a dollar.
The idea was to get commuters active and excited for the games. Squats, are a strength-training exercise that helps build the muscles of the thighs, hips, buttocks, quads and hamstrings, as well as strengthen the core. It also burns calories and works the entire body when done properly.
To get the free ticket a sensor was fitted to a ticket machine and allowed punters to complete 30 squats in at least two minutes. Failure to complete the task would result in a squat fail requiring a payment of 30 rubbles – not to mention a walk of shame amongst fellow commuters.
According to the Russian Olympic Committee, no count was taken of the number of free tickets issued, but the interest and participation was “very strong, enthusiastic,” amongst Russians.
Ultimately, officials said it was more about encouraging interest in sports, fitness and encouraging physical activity.
“We wanted to show that the Olympic Games are not just an international competition most people watch on TV every two years,” said Alexander Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee.
“They are also about involving everyone in the sporting way of life.”
This ingenious exchange had us thinking, what other ways could governments encourage fitness amongst the population.
What would you be prepared to exchange for some light fitness?
The possibilities are endless really, you could do some treadmill time for a cup of coffee, perform star jumps to use a local pay phone, a couple of burpees to gain entry into your local pool, push out a few lunges for a bus ticket or even do some sit ups in exchange for borrowing a film or book form your local library.
While our enthusiasm for such ideas is endless we do wonder if they would cause delays in our daily commute. We can’t imagine it would be such a novelty when running late for the train or when in a hurry.
That said, we would surely look and feel all the much better for it, right?
What do you think, would you like to see such programs in place? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.