Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The one where I confirm the crazy...

I was listening to Jillian's show this morning - I know! Twice in a month. Ooh, brrr... did I just feel a cold breeze come up from the underworld?! LOL!

Anywho, it was a show from January and she was talking about a new product/program she's working on that involves customised workouts for an incline trainer (think treadmill that starts out at an incline that can get steeper... I think my calves just whimpered.)

Basically the trainer would have a chip/card that you would plug into your computer, download the program, then put in the trainer and she talks you through the workout as it controls the speed, incline, etc. I'm guessing/hoping there would be some sort of manual over ride on it, but it's a cool idea. I use a semi-customized workout when I do my intervals on a treadmill, but I have to keep track of my time, heart rate, speed, etc. This would be a way of being 'pushed' by a personal trainer, and helping you break through some self imposed limits.

Then she talked about how it could have widespread applications, like her having a TV show. You'd hop on your trainer and, through the satellite signal, the workout would be 'broadcast' to your machine. In theory, she would have control over millions of people's exercise equipment!

So... world domination jokes aside, this is a cool, yet infinitely scary concept!

The cool thing is that, like going to a group exercise class or a running/biking/walking group, there's a sense of community. You know that you're not alone and there's at least one other person out there doing this workout with you. I know, when I go to the gym, or go for a walk around my neighborhood and pass people on their morning walks/runs/rides, it's nice to see other dedicated people there at gawd awful early to partake in the sweat therapy ritual with me...

Ok, that came out weird.

You get what I mean... Basically, it's comfort to know that you're not alone in your fitness efforts.

Then it hit me: While the powers of this technology are (mostly) being used for good (This /is/ Jillian we're talking about... lol!) there's the potential for it to turn evil really fast.

(This is where I channel my inner conspiracy theorist... and go down the 'What If' path.)

It got me thinking about companies who talking about charging people more or less for their health insurance premiums based on things like activity level, BMI, weight, etc. Heck, the company I used to work for had a $10 'surcharge' for smokers, and if you checked the "Non-smoker" box on the form, and were caught, you were charged that $10 from the start of the benefit year. My current company is doing prize drawings for people who participate in health and wellness activities - eating better, having fruit instead of candy, exercising, taking a fitness class, etc. You send in your little blue form and get entered into the drawings. But all this is 'on your honor' - they don't know I really went to the gym this morning and rocked my work out. I could have hit the snooze bar and eaten bon-bon's for breakfast. They won't call Bally's to access my account to see if I scanned in or not.

But what if they did?

What if my job, or my pay, or my insurance depended on doing what I said I did? Or it depended on how fit/strong/thin I was?

What if I was forced to exercise, eat right, etc.; that it wasn't a matter of free will but a government mandate?

I had this George Orwellian vision of people forced to work out on these machines that transmitted data of how hard you were working and if you didn't burn the prescribed amount of calories you were shipped off to some evil gym somewhere... all in the name of creating a "healthier America".

I know! All aboard the crazy train! Wooo wooo!

But is it really? With the rising costs of health care/insurance, coupled with companies freaking out about the economy, I'm guessing there will be more conversations relating to how to charge employees more or less premium dollars. Is it so hard to imagine that there might be a time when embarking on a healthy lifestyle is not a matter of free will, but a requirement for employment, insurance, heathcare, child care, education, etc.?


Luckily my coffee kicked in and I'm in a much happier place now. :)

Just pay no attention to the camera hidden in the air duct.


No comments: