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Tag: exercise

Stop exercising! Instead: re-enact scenes from action movies! Burn off fat easily with this one weird tip that movie executives do want you to know! Fitness instructors hate it—the one totally untested secret to weight loss!


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!

Examples below:

  1. Star Wars (1977), figure 1.
  2. The Empire Strikes Back (1980), figure 2.
  3. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), figure 3.
  4. 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.

Cease your unforgivable indolence! Motivate yourself to exercise with this new kind of stationary bike! Locksmiths hate it!


It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise—especially since you know you can always put it off until later.


But what if we could set up a situation where you would have to exercise?


  1. You purchase (1) a stationary bicycle and (2) a special type of heavy-duty safe (Figure 1).
  2. You then place an important object inside the safe (like your cell phone, wallet, or keys). This should be something that you’ll need soon (not like, a Ming vase).
  3. In order to open the safe, you have to pedal the bike at least (say) 20 miles. This is measured by a gear on the side of the safe.


Fig. 1: Even if you know the correct combination to the safe (right), the bike (left) absolutely must be pedaled a certain distance before the safe will open.

If you want to get your phone / keys / wallet, you’ll have to put in the required time on the exercise bike—there’s just no way around it!




Fig. 2: Example items that you might put into your pedaling-required-safe to motivate yourself.


The main benefit of this system is that it’s always easy for a person to say “I should exercise in the future” and lock their keys and wallet in the safe.

Then, even if their self-motivation wanes and they don’t feel like exercising later, they won’t be able to back out!

This system could be extended beyond just exercise bikes: perhaps the safe could be connected to a pull-up bar (“Do 10 pull-ups before this safe will open”), or to a page counter on a book (“Read 50 pages of this book before the safe will open.”)


Fig. 3: Schematic view of the safe. Maybe this image would be in the manual or something.


PROS: This idea will help promote exercise and increase self-discipline and civic virtue.

CONS: If there’s an emergency and you need to drive somewhere quickly, you’ll be out of luck!

Get exercise without meaning to while playing video games? The impossibly decadent dream of a depraved era.


There have been a number of historical attempts to bring exercise and video games together.

However, these have mostly required additional attachments and/or gimmicky peripherals in order to function.

But improved computer vision algorithms (plus the widespread availability of inexpensive cameras on laptops, televisions, and monitors) mean that it is now possible for the computer to monitor you and require certain exercises to be performed before some in-game actions can be taken.


This isn’t an entirely novel proposal—the “exercise bike / treadmill that makes your in-game character walk” is a staple of fitness-based modding.

The main difference here is that no equipment is required (except for a computer and camera). The user simply installs the game as usual and then is periodically requested to perform various types of exercise in order to advance in the game, which is then verified by the camera in order to discourage cheaters (Fig. 1).

(If we can trust the player not to cheat, then the camera would not actually be necessary.)


Fig 1: The all-seeing computer eye will require you to do various exercises in order to progress in the game. (This could also potentially use the technology behind the Microsoft Kinect .) The red outline here simulates the computer’s interpretation of the player’s outline. It isn’t melting the player with a red laser or anything, even though that is probably a better interpretation of this specific image.

There are a limited number of exercises that would fit the bill for a setup like this, but it should be possible to think of a wide enough range of options to satisfy any gamer.


Fig 2: Want to activate a “where to go next” marker for the mission that you can’t figure out? The computer will demand 20 jumping jacks before it forks over that information.

The exact amount of required exercise would be tailored to the fitness level of the game-player in question. It would generally be preferable to err on the side of “too easy” so as to avoid discouragement and/or heart attacks among players.

Additional examples:

  • “Fast-travel” between locations: do 10 lunges to simulate the effect of walking.
  • Respawn after being blown up: do 10 sit-ups to simulate the resurrection process.
  • Upgrade your laser rifle: do 10 pushups to simulate the effort of disassembling your weapon.
  • Recharge your magic spells: hold yourself in a “plank” position for 30 seconds to simulate the focus required for wizard-ness.
  • And many more!


If you own a game company, or are a publisher, you should demand this in your next game!

PROS: Increases the fitness level of decadent citizens of post-industrial economies.

CONS: Might cause personal injury.

The incredible secret to getting fit instantly, requiring only hard work over many years

The issue:

People frequently purchase exercise equipment, but then fail to actually use it after an initial period of excitement.

Basic idea:

If the equipment could somehow punish the user for lack of use, maybe it would get more use!

The proposal in detail (3 parts):

PART 1: (“The equipment needs to know if you are using it or not.”)

Exercise equipment could have a built-in mechanism to figure out if it was actually being used. (This technology already is typically included in a treadmills, rowing machines, and exercise bikes.)

For example:

1) A barbell could have pressure sensors or an accelerometer to count lifts.


Figure 1: The dots indicated in red (and by “A”) are pressure sensitive locations on the barbell, which could let it know if it were being left idle for too long. Or: the barbell could have a low-power accelerometer in it. Actually that is probably a better idea; forget this pressure-sensitivity stuff!

2) A pull-up bar could have a weight/force sensor to count pull-ups.

PART 2: (“It needs to annoy you somehow if you don’t use it.”)

Now that the equipment knows if an individual is using it or not, it needs a way to incentivize that individual to make use of the equipment in times of low dedication.

Possible options:

1) The equipment could be equipped with a speaker that would occasionally emit a shrill sound if it felt that it was being neglected. This is similar to how a smoke detector makes a piercing sound when it is low on battery.

2) The equipment could be hooked into the house WiFi / Internet router. So if a person wasn’t using it, the device would turn off the Internet connection. This might provide sufficient inducement to exercise!

3) The equipment could be hooked into a fridge preventing the house occupant from opening the fridge to acquire delicious food without first placating the exercise equipment.

PART 3: (“It needs a battery that you can’t easily remove.”)

With battery-operated exercise equipment, it would always be possible to just take the batteries out in order to stop being annoyed by the device. So that brings us to the last part of the proposal: a battery case that can ONLY be opened when the battery is fully (or almost fully) drained.

Idea: an electromagnet that would hold the battery case shut while the battery was active. Thus, it would be impossible to open the battery case to take out the battery until the battery was drained. Is it possible to make an electromagnet that would only use minimal energy? Maybe!


Figure 2: Here is a terrible drawing that attempts to show an electromagnet (X, in red) holding up a permanent magnet (Y, in blue), and preventing the latch (W, in green) from sliding left and right. If the electromagnet “X” is disengaged, the permanent magnet “Y” will fall back into the hole, and the latch can slide left and right again.



PROS: Might encourage exercise. Opens up a new world of horrifying possibilities of humans being enslaved by computers.

CONS: None!