Treadmill - Originally a Prison Torture Device

Running monotonously to the grumbling gears of the machine below you, while staring at a white wall or a white butt running in front of you, while smelling body odor and Axe deodorant DOES sound like cruel and unusual punishment.

Be honest, the only REAL thrill you get out of a treadmill is the idea of losing weight and bragging to your spouse about it later. 

The Origins of the Treadmill 

In 1821, Sir William Cubitt was disgusted when he found that the prisoners at St. Edmond’s Gaol in Bury were lazy and sloppy. To fix them, he knew they needed hard, arduous labor. He created a treadmill that spun on a horizontal axis so the prisoners would step upward. 

The name 'treadmill' came from the action when prisoners stepped on 24 spokes of a large paddle wheel and as the wheel turned, gears were used to pump out water or crush grain.

The treadmill was banned in the late 19th century for being 'excessively cruel.' 

New York prison guard James Hardie said about the treadmill: “It is its monotonous steadiness, and not its severity, which constitutes its terror.”

The Exercise Machine 

The US patent for the treadmill 'training machine,' originally developed to diagnose heart and lung disease, was made on June 17, 1913. 

Later, however, Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper wrote a paper on aerobic exercise and his research in 1968 was enough reason to develop the treadmill for commercial exercise. 

Treadmill Related Deaths 

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24,000 injuries a year are associated with treadmills.

The CEO of Survey Monkey died from falling off his treadmill and hitting his head. 

Using a treadmill over several months leads to a loss of agility, as you are not using as many muscles as you would running outside. It also provides a monotonous pace, which is artificial compared to the pace you would take running outside, one to which your body would naturally conform. 

Not to mention, it is mind numbingly boring to run on a flat surface like a hamster in a wheel. There's a reason it was a torture tool. 

We need to remind ourselves, we don't get social brownie points by torturing ourselves to lose weight and owning a gym membership akin to a 19th century prison.

Sweat outside or play a game of volleyball.