flickr photo credit to Catherine's Landing
If exercise is a commodity, how much will you pay for it?
Apparently some people are willing to invest quite a tidy sum of money.This week I read an intriguing article in the Boston Globe about a new start-up called Gym-Pact. Gym-Pact is an exercise accountability program which requires its members to shell out a $25 penalty fee every time they skip a work-out.
Gym-Pact originated from Harvard College graduate Yifan Zhang, who stumbled upon the idea during a behavioral economics class. Zhang was convinced that people are more motivated by immediate consequences than by future possibilities. Together with classmate Geoff Oberhofer, Zhang created Gym-Pact and started negotiations between gyms and participating members.
Click here to read complete coverage from The Boston Globe.
flickr photo sourced from bangkokrecorderCompelling article! I have never framed exercise as an economic commodity, but isn't this is what Gym-Pact implies? On one hand, exercise has become extremely valuable due to its health benefits. An exercise investment can only grow profitably as obesity and its co-morbidities continue to increase. However exercise is costly; in the midst of our busy lives, we must purposefully set aside time and resources to get moving.
Kenneth J. Carpenter, PhD noted the historical shift from physical activity to inactivity in his article "A Short History of Nutrition Science" written in 2003. Carpenter notes, "[In the 1980s] the problem of obesity was still growing, and nutritional science had not been able to come up with an easily adopted solution for people with a sedentary lifestyle. As technology advanced, the human machine remained the same. [Back then] a few people were [starting to reverse] the traditional work-rest cycle, i.e. doing their work (and associated travel) sitting down, and spending their breaks on a treadmill." Now in the 21st century, it seems the work-rest cycle is completed reversed!
What do you think of a program such as Gym-Pact?
What are your thoughts on exercise as a commodity?
Thanks for reading,
** Carpenter, KJ. A Short History of Nutrition Science: Part 4 (1945-1985). Journal of Nutrition. (2003) 133: 3331-3342.