In the late 1800s, Oscar Wilde was sentenced to hard labour on a prison treadmill. In the 1970s, the electronic treadmill became a fixture of pay-for-use ‘lifestyle’ gyms. In the 2010s, devices like iTreadmill – a smartphone app for tracking exercise activity wherever you go – are staples of exercise experience. Fitness technologies have come a long way. This presentation is based on the recently-released book Fitness, Technology & Society: Amusing Ourselves to Life (2018, Routledge). The claim at the centre of the presentation is that we are in the midst of a new fitness ‘boom’–which is to say, a moment when fitness technologies are both proliferating and helping to change the very nature of fitness experience.
Drawing from academic literature and other resources, the presentation identifies eight characteristics of contemporary fitness technologies – and thus of this new era of fitness in general.
Brad Millington is a Lecturer in the Department for Health at the University of Bath.