Exercise routines are often extremely dry and boring.
But they can be made more engaging by making a “themed” workout, with each part of a workout helping to accomplish an imaginary goal.
This is not a totally new idea. For example, the game “Zombies Run” motivates a person to jog faster by providing a virtual zombie horde to chase the player.
We can make a more general exercise program (i.e., not just running) by adapting scenes from major action movies.
Some movies actually already have a “workout routine” that could be used as-is, like the training montages in the Rocky series, or the rock-climbing sections of Cliffhanger (1993).
But almost any film can be adapted into a workout routine with sufficient creativity!
- Star Wars (1977), figure 1.
- The Empire Strikes Back (1980), figure 2.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), figure 3.
- Dances With Wolves (1990), figures 4 and 5.
Fig. 1: Star Wars: for the “Death Star trash compactor” exercise, you push against a large metal plate, while it tries to push back towards you. The plate could move back and forth several times. The exercise would be completed either when R2-D2 turns off the trash compactor or when you are pushed to the opposing wall by the plate.
Fig. 2: This Empire Strikes Back-themed exercise requires you to hang upside-down from a pull-up bar, so it’s a bit inconvenient to set up in most gyms. The menacing ice creature (left) is an optional component, but that role could easily be filled by any fellow gym-goer.
Fig. 3: Action movies contain plenty of scenes that could be adapted to an exercise program. The rolling boulder escape from Raiders of the Lost Ark makes a great high-stakes sprint.
Fig. 4: Dances With Wolves features a number of suitable inspirational scenes. Left: pull a bunch of heavy dead animals from the water supply (good for exercising a wide variety of muscle groups). For public health reasons, this workout would use sandbags instead of actual dead animals, even though this reduces the verisimilitude somewhat. Right: grind coffee.
Fig. 5: You can’t really have a Dances with Wolves-themed exercise program if you don’t dance around a bonfire with a wolf.
Movie studios should immediately seize this opportunity to release tie-in exercise programs (similar to the way tie-in novels / novelizations of major films are released).
PROS: Makes exercise more engaging and serves as an effective marketing / promotional tool to advertise a movie.
CONS: People might over-exert themselves when trying to escape a rolling boulder in a way that they wouldn’t in a normal exercise routine.