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A Cure for my Idleness

When my kids were little, they were not allowed to say "hate". They could say "I don't like" but the "h" word was not an option. Well, I reverse course today with due apologies to them. I seriously, absolutely, and completely hate the treadmill. There's not a more boring thing in the world. Staring at a wall while walking with mechanical rigor is crushingly punishing. If I surf, I get dizzy. If I don't, I am afraid of dying of boredom.

So, I set out to see how this beast originated.

It didn't take long to know that the concept dates back to 1st century AD. The Romans discovered the first treadmill to generate energy for moving objects. Oxen and people were used to power these early devices. I can see that is a better way of moving big rocks rather than lifting and carrying.

But...but...I don't want to move big rocks.

Then came Sir William Cubbit. In 1818, he designed a "tread wheel" for prisoners at Bury St. Edmunds gaol in England. He wanted prisoners to power these machines for useful work and to "cure idleness". That is precisely how I feel when I use the modern-day rendition: a prisoner needing a cure for my idleness.

In 1913, the first treadmill for exercise was patented in the US. The initial use was in medicine. In the 1920s, Ford Motors used conveyor belts to move parts from one area of the factory floor to another, reducing labor costs so much that the car transformed from a luxury item to an affordable one. Then came airport conveyor belts. Haven't we all wanted to ride one of those while waiting and waiting for our luggage to arrive?

In the 1950s, a Finnish manufacturer began mass marketing the treadmill for exercise use. Fine. I admit it. There are loads of benefits to a cardiac workout on a treadmill. Nothing will get your heart rate up than staring ahead into a static scene. They say treadmills are the best way to lose belly fat. I suppose if you stayed on the thing for hours that might happen. I will never know, because I happily hop off after 30-40 minutes. For all my whinging, I will say that it gets my heart rate up to the point where my pulse pounds in the temples.

Now that treadmills with moving scenery are here, I am looking for a very specific kind of scenery. Desert or woods preferred. With rattlesnakes. My legs will have no trouble moving fast and my heart will get a super workout. Until then I remain the reluctant treadmillist.

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