One summer when I found myself single and selfish, I spent an extraordinary amount of time at a local gym. Back then, we called them “health clubs” but it was really just a smelly warehouse with a variety of resistance machines and free weights. There was a separate room called the “Cardio Room” that had a row of stationary bicycles, a row of treadmills and a row of Stairmaster machines. This room also had a television situated high on a shelf in the corner where, supposedly, everyone could see it. I made this room my home, every evening, for about eight solid months.
I would hurry to the gym directly from the office so that I could get started on the machines before the “after dinner” people started to arrive. I’d begin on the treadmill to “warm up” and spend about thirty minutes walking. Then, I tackled the Stairmaster for another thirty minutes. It was exhausting. That machine wore me out to the point that I looked forward to time on the stationary bicycle so that I could sit down for a while! This was my routine for four or five evenings each week for almost eight months.
Imagine the energy that all this took.
Prisoners in several Brazilian jails have, recently, been riding exercise bicycles quite a lot. A program that allows inmates to reduce their sentences in exchange for generating power to help illuminate the local town is proving to be quite successful. The inspiration for the program came from a story on the internet about gyms in the United States where electricity is generated by exercise bikes.
Participating inmates are enjoying the program and officials are hopeful that it will help to restore an inmate’s sense of self-worth. In the past, they would spend their days indoors with only a couple of hours of opportunity to spend time outdoors. Now they spend their days enjoying fresh air, generating electricity for the town and at the same time winning their freedom.
I bet I could’ve generated enough electricity to light up two towns that summer! This sounds like a good program to consider everywhere.
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