Friday Fun: Squat your way to metro tickets in Moscow
Moscow Metro

For one month, passengers on the Moscow Metro can earn a free ticket by doing squats. The promotion is an effort by the Russian Olympic Committee to encourage a healthy lifestyle ahead of the XXII Olympic Winter Games, which will be held in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014. Photo by Simon Bisson.

Many cities are working to encourage healthier habits among their urban residents, but none have gone so far as Moscow, Russia, did last week. For one month, Muscovites can now purchase metro tickets through an unconventional means: by doing squats.

If you’re unfamiliar with squats, they’re a knee-bending, calorie-busting exercise guaranteed to get your heart rate up. A new vending machine equipped with sensors at Vystavochnaya station on the Filyovskaya line in western Moscow will sell passengers one subway ticket worth 30 rubles (about $0.92) in exchange for completing 30 of these beasts within a two minute window. Although the machine is only installed at Vystavochnaya station currently, plans are in motion for its expansion to others in the city.

Moscow Metro partners with Russian Olympic Committee

Moscow Metro’s new payment option is the result of collaboration with the Russian Olympic Committee in advance of the XXII Olympic Winter Games, which will be held in Sochi, Russia, in February 2014. The effort is intended to promote a healthy lifestyle ahead of the Olympics. Although there’s already been speculation on just how awkward passengers might look doing squats at a metro station, you can’t fault Moscow for attempting this truly innovative scheme.

“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 told the state-run news outlet RIA Novosti.

To celebrate the new vending machine’s launch at Vystavochnaya station, an opening ceremony was held last Friday, November 8 featuring Olympic officials and athletes. Yelena Zamolodchikova and Alexei Nemov, both Olympic champion gymnasts, demonstrated excellent squatting form to show how the machine works.

Incorporating “Olympic values” into daily commute

The organizers behind the squatting promotion say they’re hoping the increased presence of exercise at metro stations will help people incorporate “Olympic values” into their daily commute. Recently, we’ve discussed comparable efforts to promote better manners on public transport – what other values would you like to see more of public transit? Share your ideas in the comment section!

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