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by Casey McIlvaine

Morning commutes in Russia are potentially healthier and cheaper as the city of Moscow made it possible to exercise for a free ticket on the subway. The promotion was all part of the run-up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The machine will remain at the Vystavochaya station in the west of the Russian capital until Dec. 3, 2014

Fitness equipment and opportunities to exercise before a commute have become common place in airports around the world, and something that we’ve spotlighted in past blog posts. This opportunity to engage in a brief fitness session in exchange for a free subway ticket in a Moscow subway was something entirely different. In an effort to promote the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi and a healthier lifestyle, the Moscow Metro set up a special vending machine that offered travelers one free ticket in exchange for performing 30 squats.

In order to obtain the free ticket, subway riders have to perform the squats in front of the machine (as other potential passengers presumably look on). Like everything in life, there were rules to the promotion, which included the person doing the 30 squats in less than two minutes. In addition, the squats all had to be full squats according to the judgment of the sensors in the machines. If you met the standard, the vending machine issued you a free ticket, which cost 30 rubles (about 92 cents).

The promotion was designed and implemented by the Russian Olympic Committee to increase excitement for the February 2014 Winter Olympic Games in the Black Sea city of Sochi. While there have been no reports on the success of the promotion since the games, you have to applaud any effort that makes exercise a rewarding experience beyond the health benefits.

It was also reported that Russia’s Olympic Committee would also offer other chances for exercise with built-in rewards in daily life with the addition of exercise bikes that produce electricity to charge your cellphone. There was also a plan to turn hanging handles on buses into exercise bands. The only thing that could make this better is if it prompted another space race style competition between the U.S. and today’s Russia where instead of the first one to space, it was the first one to make exercise a part of everyone’s daily life.



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