With obesity rates in nations around the world blobbing into oblivion, any scheme encouraging us to get off our butts and be more active surely has to be a good thing.
Take the Moscow subway, for example. A special vending machine has been installed at Vystavochaya station in the west of the Russian capital which offers travelers tickets for free rides – so long as they perform 30 squats first. Oh, and just to ensure your heart rate shifts into at least second gear, the task has to be completed within two minutes.
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Of course, for those keen to avoid turning up at work stinking of sweat, cash payments (30 rubles/$0.93 for a single journey) continue to be accepted.
The special machine is part of a wider campaign being run by Russia’s Olympic Committee to promote next year’s Winter Games in Sochi and to encourage people to “add elements of sport into daily life.”
“We wanted to show that the Olympic Games is not just an international competition that people watch on TV, but that it is also about getting everyone involved in a sporting lifestyle,” Alexander Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee, told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
The rides-for-squats vending machine, which will be in place for the next month, use sensors to tot up the number of squats achieved within the time limit. Hit the target and it issues a ticket. However, if your knees give away mid-squat, or if you only manage 29 or fewer in the allotted time, you’ll need to crawl over to a regular ticket machine and feed it with money.
The video below shows the new machine in action. While many people seem a bit unsure at first, they soon get into the idea, with travelers of all shapes and sizes managing to score a free ride.