Evidently there's a long history of horse riding simulators as exercise devices.
Electro-mechanical horse with five gaits ranging from a trot to a running gallop.
Some of the benefits of horseback riding as a form of exercise can be obtained indoors with the aid of an electro-mechanical horse which not only provides fun for the children but sport for grown-ups as well. At a touch on the reins, the horse can be induced to break into any one of five gaits ranging from a trot to a gallop. Source:Popular Mechanics - May 1936
A modern-day simulator — that no longer looks like an actual horse:
Update: another old time indoor horse exercise machine.
The Peace Pilgrim (aka Mildred Lisette Norman) is fairly famous. In 1953 she began walking across America, wearing a shirt that said "Peace Pilgrim," and vowed to keep walking "until mankind has learned the way of peace." She was already an experienced walker when she started this, having been the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian trail in one season. She walked for 28 years until her death in 1981, logging over 25,000 miles.
Peace Pilgrim II (aka Ronald Podrow) isn't quite as famous or inspirational. In 1989, inspired by the first Peace Pilgrim, he adopted her name and also began walking to promote peace. But unlike her, he wasn't an experienced walker. From wikipedia:
Peace Pilgrim II was only able to walk the first year of his pilgrimage. After 2,000 miles on foot, his hips required surgical replacement, but he continued his pilgrimage thereafter with the aid of a donated car and Social Security benefits.
In 1972, Sears, Roebuck & Co. commissioned fitness expert Nicholas Kounovsky to devise exercises that could be done by housewives while vacuuming. He came up with the "Chore Your Way to Fitness" program. He wrote, "Your vacuum cleaner becomes a portable gym, and you can help tone up lazy muscles as you do your routine cleaning chores."
It sounds like this program was outlined in a pamphlet of some kind. But unfortunately I haven't been able to find a copy of this pamphlet anywhere.
1953: Diane Rinkes, 15-year-old cheerleader for East Lansing high school in Michigan, gave it her all for her team, but it wasn't enough. Her team lost, and then she dropped dead.
When I first read this story, I assumed that there must have been some kind of underlying medical condition that caused her death. 15-year-old girls don't simply drop dead for no reason.
But in a follow-up report it says that the Coroner diagnosed the cause of death as "acute shock and acute circulatory collapse... brought on by overexertion." He elaborated that Rinkes worked herself up into such a "tremendous pitch of excitement during the football game" that it caused her death.
So she died of over-excitement. You have to wonder if she would have lived if her team had won.
Tega Brain and Surya Mattu have come up with an "art project" (Unfit Bits) that gives people practical tips on how to cheat fitness trackers, such as the Fitbit. Why would you want to cheat a fitness tracker? Perhaps because your employer is offering a financial incentive to wear the tracker and is then monitoring your data and sharing that data with an insurance company. So screw them. Take their money and supply them with a stream of bogus data.
The cheat methods are as easy as tying the tracker to a pendulum or to the branch of a tree, to make it think you're walking around when you're really slouching in front of the TV. Notes Mattu, "We’re putting this kind of trust into devices that are very simple. Unfit Bits shows how silly the data is from these kinds of sensors." More info at Observer.com.
Good news fellow couch potatoes! Long distance, strenuous joggers have the same mortality rate as sedentary people. On the other hand, the Danish study says moderate jogging does improve the mortality rate. Mmm danish...
Runners World reports that Chris Kimbrough, a 44-year old mother of six, has "shattered the women's beer mile world record." She did this by running four laps, and drinking four beers, in 6:28.6, beating the previous record by 13 seconds. In a previous age, I suppose, this might have qualified her as "beer honorable."
I find her achievement quite inspirational. Makes me think I should start exercising more (especially if that involves a beer-exercise combo).
Books Selected and endorsed for Pure Weirdness by Your WU Team
Who We Are
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.