Treadmills (Ugh) | HumorOutcasts

Treadmills (Ugh)

January 26, 2018

I hate treadmills! Well, maybe that’s a little strong. Let’s say that I see treadmills as a necessary evil. When you live in the northern states, like it or not, treadmills are necessary so maybe it’s a love/hate relations ship.

When the temperature is 5 degrees with a wind chill of minus 15 degrees going outside for anything other than a case of beer is just crazy. By the time you get dressed to allow you to survive without turning into a popsicle, you can barely move and look like the kid who’s mother put him outside to get some fresh air but if he fell down would roll around like a ball of snow on a snowman. Also, the trails you normally run are ice covered and slippery and unless you’ve got a pair of skis or snowshoes you’re doomed.

So, that leaves the dreaded treadmill.

Treadmills have an interesting history. They were originally designed in Britain as a form of punishment! (in that sense they really haven’t changed much). In the late 1700s social reform brought about the use of prisons for criminal rehabilitation (prior to that they were just hanged) but it was decided that, instead of restful confinement, prisoners were to be subjected to “hard labor”. While it was considered unjust to have prisoners do work that took away jobs from free people, a system of work was devised to punish the prisoner, a device was designed (this was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution) called a “Discipline Mill” that soon after became known as the treadmill. Prisoners were required to perform up to 6 hours per day of useless labor as punishment for their sins. Nowadays we pay good money to do just that (OK maybe not 6 hours, it just feels like that).

So, knowing that, how could anyone feel good about treadmills?

Of course, I’m being unfair. There are thousands of individuals who use these devices, fair weather or foul and many “gyms” have them stacked together row upon row and do a good business providing them to their customers. Reasons for their use are many; time constraints, weather (too hot, too cold, etc.), social mores etc. If you like that mode and you’re getting what you want out of the process then good for you. Unfortunately, I won’t be joining you. I get too much benefit out of being outside, running free, unconfined.

I remember my outdoor runs, I remember the weather, the scenery, the smells, the creatures seen, all logged in my personal running log diary. If you want to know where I ran on February 5th 2014, I can go back, look it up and give you a vivid description. It’s stored in my long term memory for instant retrieval. Running on my treadmill means I log nothing but time of day, miles run and time of completion. I have treadmill amnesia.

So I will continue to go forth hating treadmills and, when necessary, considering them as a necessary evil.

Roger Hollis

Air Force veteran, veteran of 30+ years in the corporate world. Published in Medical Devices magazine. Illustrator for recently published "1000 Ways in 1000 Days" available on Amazon. Long time runner. Author of "Running Log" due out in November.

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