Have you heard what the Russian Olympic Committee did in Moscow? Instead of paying for a ride on the city's metro system, riders can instead do 30 squats to get a ride. It's a publicity stunt ahead of the Sochi Olympic Games, but it has an area doctor wondering if people here would consider incorporating even small amounts of exercise into their daily lives.
Workers have installed what look like vending machines at stops along Moscow's metro transit system. They're machines used to count squats. Riders can choose to keep their fare- the equivalent to about $.92- and instead pay in squats. The price? 30 squats in two minutes.
The Russian Olympic Committee is behind the program, meant to promote the upcoming games in Sochi.
"I heard it really took off over there and I think every country should embrace that. People could really benefit from it," said Dr. Gregory Thomas, and orthopaedic traumatologist at Geisinger CMC in Scranton. He says it's a gimmick, for sure, but ones that promotes exercise in general, which he calls preventative medicine: as little as 15 minutes of exercise three times a week is a great benefit.
"By raising physical fitness you can decrease chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and osteoarthritis." He went on to say, "it decreases blood pressure, increases functional capacity, and increases mobility."
Squats in particular strengthen your legs and your core, the collective name for the muscles that make up the center of your body.
"(Those are) the biggest complaints people have, back and knee pain. By strenghening the core, it decreases that pain," said Dr. Thomas.
The Russian Olympic Committee wanted to get people excited about the Olypmics. Dr. Thomas says more importantly, this raises awareness in a small way about sports and fitness in general, something we can all keep in mind in the new year.
He says he surveyed his colleagues at Geisinger CMC and says most people could do 30 squats in about a minute and 15 seconds. He suspects most people at home could too, and urges people to safely give it a try.