Cultured Technologically: The Treadmill

Today I was walking around a bit, stretching my legs and dreading that school had started once again. School had made my steps lumpy and my face dreary. I made my way past a robust building clad in glass frames with the “Planet Fitness” logo staring at my stride. And, might I say that I felt as if the very building was mocking me in my simplicity, as inside half of the floor was organized with people on treadmills and bicycle machines.

They bounced in place on the mock pavement speeding below them and they gasped and groaned on the highest settings of the bicycle machines. Above their heads, countless television sets infrequently met their eyes, and air conditioners blasted sweetly brisk air at their faces. Most of them had armbands to hold their MP3 players plugged in so they could  find a total recluse from the outside world. And what have you, the ones that didn’t sure weren’t doing too bad a job. They would share their blank stares among the tvs and the brick walled deli grocery outside, in front of them.

Once in a while they stared at me, my awkward face pressed against the thick glass, as I stopped and looked in awe of what I was seeing. On the street corner, peering down Lydig Avenue I could see the park, and in the corner of my eye, the sweaty people begging for the artificially cool air of a machine glued to a wall.

I didn’t get it, and I can’t say I do still. Have we become so reliant on technology that we replace it with even the simplest of things we can so easily find otherwise? Why weren’t the dozens of runners and bikers going through a shaded park; a park with natural cool breezes and a beautiful scenery and scent. Surely that can’t be matched by a soulless commercial building shaded instead by a rusted train track and the height of a residential building with a corner store in its lobby.

I feel that we should not become so sheepishly reliant on technology so as to use it for such unnecessary and debatable conveniences. We allow technology to dictate our lives and to seclude us from interactions with others. God help one of those runners in that building if they go run in a park instead and someone wants to have a conversation.

This doesn’t just happen in one place; in all technologically advanced nations people are jumping on treadmills when governments invest millions on park spaces. It has become an odd international phenomenon showcasing the collective absurdity of human nature.

It seems that this culture of becoming engulfed by technology on all sides and embracing it so much so that we let it make us look foolish! Go out and run or bike out in a park, not in a gym; you aren’t making sense. And to those people that visit the gym to walk on one of those treadmills, you have a twisted soul for mushing up my brain in confusion.

At least those people are exercising, though. This can’t be said for nearly enough Americans nowadays.

  1. Agreed. Running outside also clears your mind and improves mental health better than running indoors on a treadmill, which is a step towards more complete health.

  2. Nice post, I like the association you made between treadmills in our society’s other dependencies on technology. Although I prefer running out in the nature, sometimes due to time constraints and being in a big, unsafe city when traveling, having the option of going to a gym lined with treadmills is great.

    • Bruno said:

      Thank you very much! I see what you mean. Technology does give us many conveniences, but sometimes we rely on many that are unnecessary. I do live in Bronx, NY though, and I can relate to the idea of not feeling “right” in a big, unsafe city outside.

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