Walk, Don’t Run.

Advanced Treadmill
Nordic Track Treadmill | Photo by NordicTrack

This COVID-19 pandemic is getting way  out of hand. It seems the younger crowd feels impervious to the virus and chooses to have parties and gatherings without any concern for the serious trouble they may be causing or who they might be infecting. Things were just starting to look like normal life wasn’t that far down the road, but now with the resurgence of cases we may be at just the beginning of a much worse viral siege.

Many places of business started to reopen including gyms, bars, and restaurants. I don’t know about you, but I am in too many of the underlying categories that make me very wary of much contact with the outside world. One of the things I need to do is walk, but not on uneven or hilly surfaces. That means the Amazon path and even the sidewalks in my neighborhood are dangerous for me to tread for more than just a short distance. Going to a gym puts me in contact with other people and that’s not for me.

Me On Treadmill
Me Walking On My Treadmill | Photo by Tim Chuey

I do however have an old treadmill at home. I walk on it daily and it helps with my neuropathy pain and range of motion. I would say my condition would be much worse without that valuable piece of equipment. Let’s examine the history of the treadmill. According to TreadmillReviews.com “the term treadmill was once used interchangeably with treadwheel. You might have heard of a treadwheel before.” “..these were used as power sources.” The way it worked was like walking up stairs which made the wheel spin producing energy, lifting water and many other ingenious tasks. Some treadmills were made like what we call a hamster wheel” where someone walked inside the wheel to make it turn.

French Thresher
Horse Batteuse (French Thresher) 1881 | Image by wikimedia.com

Other treadmill type machines used a horizontal bar that was pushed by people or pulled by animals to grind wheat and perform different tasks.

Roman Tread-Wheel
Roman Tread-Wheel Crane Reconstruction| Photo by wikimedia.com

The ancient Romans used their heads and developed a tread-wheel crane that was used to construct buildings. Something akin to today’s treadmills was also developed. It was a sloped platform with people walking on it.

William Cubitt
Sir William Cubitt; National Portrait Gallery, London; | Image by artuk.org/artworks/sir-william-cubitt-158507

According to Mental_floss.com “In 1818 an English civil engineer named Sir William Cubitt devised a machine called the “tread-wheel” to reform stubborn and idle convicts. Prisoners would step on the 24 spokes of a large paddle wheel, climbing it like a modern StairMaster. As the spokes turned, the gears were used to pump water or crush grain (Hence the eventual name treadmill. In grueling eight-hour shifts, prisoners would climb the equivalent of 7,200 feet.”

Prison Treadmill
Cubitt’s Prison Treadmill – Victorian Prison Torture Device | Photo by Pinterest.com

New York prison guard James Hardie, back in 1824, credited the  treadmill with taming New York’s worst inmates. Hardie said “It was the treadmill’s monotonous steadiness, and not its severity, which constitutes its terror.

William Staub
William Staub Inventor Modern Treadmill | Image NY Times.com

William Staub is considered to be the inventor of the modern treadmill to be used for exercise.

Staub's Treadmill

William Staub’s Early Treadmill For Personal Use | Image by treadmill-world.com

Staub was influenced by a health guru named Kenneth Cooper who coined the term aerobics and espoused the theory that running a mile in eight minutes four or five times a week would result in “good fitness.”

Advanced Treadmill
Nordic Track Treadmill | Photo by NordicTrack

Now there are many companies making a variety of technically advanced treadmills that have computers in them and can be programmed for all sorts of runs, walks or jogs that can change elevation, tension and the speed of the treadmill. I’ll stick with just walking on mine.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

Tim Chuey is a Member of the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association and has been Awarded Seals of Approval for television weathercasting from both organizations.

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