There’s a growing problem in Mexico – their waistlines. After outranking the United States in terms of obesity in 2013 (nearly 70% of the population is overweight), the government has been looking for creative ways to help its citizens get into better fitness. Next month, Mexico City’s subway stations will be outfitted with ‘squat machines’ that will count the number of squats a passenger does. For just the cost of 10 squats, a person can then use the subway station for free. Not a bad deal, right?
The city will initially install 30 machines throughout 15 different stations, though more will be installed in the future. In addition, the first 80,000 people to complete the squat challenge will be rewarded with a pedometer for their accomplishment. Officials are hoping the machines will drive people to want to be more physically fit.
Mexico is not the first country to try to entice their citizens to shed the extra weight. In 2013, Dubai offered a very lucrative deal to its citizens- one gram of gold for every 1kg (or 2.2 pounds) that they were able to successfully lose within the course of a month long challenge. One gram of gold was worth about $41 at the time of the challenge. The UAE’s obesity rating at the time was a whopping 33% of the population, with 30.2% of males and 43% of women being labeled as obese. Similarly, for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Moscow subways allowed passengers to ride for free if they could complete 30 squats within two minutes, making Mexico City’s challenge look like a piece of cake in comparison.
While asking passengers to do 10 squats is unlikely to help them shed pounds, it will make them more aware of their physical fitness and may help motivate people to get into better shape. After all, how embarrassing must it be to be completely out of breath after doing only 10 squats? Or even worse, forgoing the squats entirely and paying for your ride?