In Moscow, a little exercise earns you a free subway ride

November 11, 2013

A vending machine has been set up at one of Moscow’s subway stations that allows people to earn a free ticket by doing squats. The initiative aims to promote sports and fitness in advance of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. (Video courtesy of AP)

Here in the D.C. region, living in Metro friendly communities like Arlington, Ballston and Bethesda means you can leave that car at home and squeeze a little exercise into your morning commute as you walk, bike or jog to the Metro station.

Now The Wall Street Journal’s Emerging Europe Real Time blog details how Moscow city officials have taken that fitness friendly commute a step farther. Subway riders who do 30 squats before crossing the ticket machines at metro stations in the city will get a free ride.

“We wanted to show that the Olympic Games is not just an international competition that people watch on TV, but that it is also about getting everyone involved in a sporting lifestyle,” Alexander Zhukov, president of the Russian Olympic Committee, was quoted by state-run news wire RIA-Novosti as saying.

One ride on Moscow’s Metro costs roughly 30 rubles (about 92 cents). A special Olympic-themed machine will count each squat. The promotion will last for a month.

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia is slated to take place Feb. 7-24, 2014.

Of course, this begs the question, what type of fitness promotion might the folks at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority consider?

I’m sure some would argue that Metro riders do more than their share of sweating thanks to escalator breakdowns. But how about an exercise in bureaucratic red tape? Or something along the lines of the Washington runaround?

C’mon you can do way better than this.

Post your suggestions below.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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Lori Aratani · November 11, 2013