Train stations in Moscow, Russia are now offering an alternative way to pay for your fare: with squats. That’s right: stand on the designated spot in front of a machine, do 30 squats, and the machine dispenses a train ticket. The fitness for train ride swap is to promote the Winter Olympics, which start in February in Sochi, Russia. Sochi, bordering the Black Sea, is literally a thousand miles from Moscow (because Russia is ginormous), but Moscow is Russia’s capital and cultural center, so it will be the center of national pride for the Sochi Olympics.
A promotional video showing smiling squatters and their bemused friends (above) was released to show the fun everyone is having with the squat sensor-ticket dispenser machines. One wonders how well these machines do in practice (and if using them is feasible when the station is busy), but apparently the machines are good enough to know when you are cheating.
And hey, as promotions go, this one is pretty charming. It might actually encourage a few people to exercise more than they would (30 squats is a legit workout), and some will really appreciate the free train fare. Champion squatters could pick up some side income squatting like mad and then selling the tickets (though if that’s true, it doesn’t speak well to the earning potential of champion squatters).
Moscow’s squats for tickets deal makes me wonder what the return on investment is when governments get their citizens to exercise. Exercise-related injury probably happens enough to make the answer to that question very low, but exercise does prevent health problems down the line, so Russia is, in theory anyway, getting a little bit back for that train ticket.