In today’s world, many businesses are trying to incorporate technological advances as a means to improve their product.  Schools are going electronic and even the government accepts email versions of formal documents.  But how is the world of exercise and physical fitness keeping up?

I agree that there are a number of workout apps that offer a quick fix for people who are lost in a gym.  The problem is that the app can’t really track your action nor determine if your physical activity report is genuine (aside from GPS-based running apps).  Some people even buy into programs where they submit money and get a refund only by meeting their weekly exercise goal.

The real issue, as with everything else in life, is motivation.  What can a person obtain from their exercise program?  For people with knowledge of the physiological and mental benefits of exercise, it is simple to understand that exercise is a necessary part of life.  But, other people only look for a change in the scale or a vast improvement in strength.

As a psychology double major, I learned the benefits of a reward system and how it can influence motivation and ultimately empower action.  A great starting point to an exercise reward system is something that I recently saw in Russia.  As a precursor to the Olympics and encouraging a nation to value exercise, they have developed a machine that will accept 30 squats as a payment for a subway pass.

This video shows the setup of the machine which uses a force plate and camera to count the number of squats.  You can see the simple joy that people get from a “free” subway ticket.

Exercise has many positive effects of emotion and leads to a healthier person. (Notice the people smiling)  Russia has taken the first step towards a potentially groundbreaking idea.  I’m not saying that we should monetize exercise, but its a start.