As the world evolves, so does everything in it. Currency is no different. Over the last several decades, the standard form of payment has steadily transitioned from cash and checks, to credit and debit cards. Recently Bitcoin has been grabbing the headlines as a new form of currency that is starting to be accepted by the masses. Could exercise be next? Yes, you read that correctly. Is exercise a possible form of currency and payment?
The Value of Exercise
What is a push-up worth? How about a squat? The latter can now be concretely answered. To help promote the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the Moscow subway systems are now accepting exercise as a form of payment. 30 squats are worth a 30-ruble subway ride ticket. So is this just a marketing ploy, or could this really be a form of payment that could become a part of our everyday lives?
If doing an exercise really doesn’t seem like it should be worth any monetary value – this isn’t the first time exercise has been equated to having monetary value. In fact, there is a long history of just that. With rising health care costs, employers and other organizations have long incentivized people to exercise, eat healthier and pursue habits that lead to a healthier lifestyle.
While the approach is slightly different, the same basic economics exist – do x, get y. Do 30 squats, get a free ride ticket. Exercise at a gym 12 times a month, get $20 off your monthly membership dues. The only difference is instead of ‘getting paid’ to exercise, people can now exercise ‘to pay’. Maybe in the near future, you’ll be able to purchase goods and services with literally a little sweat equity.
When watching the video, count how many people are smiling while they are ‘paying’ for their ticket. When was the last time you saw happy people paying to ride the subway? While the squats may be worth 30 rubles, their true value to the social wellbeing appears to be worth far more.