Archives for exercise



The Economics of Gym-Going, Part 2

From a reader named Laura Brown:

I recently joined a gym in a low-income part of Baltimore. For $10 a month, a person has unlimited access to the equipment — including treadmills that have individual televisions with about 20 different channels. For $19.99 a month, they have unlimited access as well as unlimited guest privileges. I’ve only been to the gym twice since I signed up, but both times (in the evening), the gym has been almost to capacity. However, despite the fact that it is almost impossible to find an open treadmill, many patrons don’t seem to be there to workout — most of them are obese, and the majority of the treadmills seem to run on the minimum speed settings — .5 mph — not fast enough for anyone to even break a sweat. I was pondering this yesterday during my jog, and it occurred to me that it is entirely possible that many of these people are using a gym membership (and the subsequent treadmill-television access) as a substitute for cable.

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Nudging People to Exercise

Ian Ayres has long advocated the use of commitment contracts in achieving dieting and weight loss goals. Alan M Garber and Jeremy D Goldhaber-Fieber write about their research on commitment contracts and exercise. Read More »



A Gym Where It Costs You to Skip a Workout

A lot of people who join gyms or health clubs find it very easy to stop going. Gym-Pact, a new program in Boston, aims to change that. “Gym-Pact offers what [co-founder Yifan] Zhang calls motivational fees: customers agree to pay more if they miss their scheduled workouts, literally buying into a financial penalty if they don’t stick to their fitness plans,” explains Susan Johnston of The Boston Globe. Read More »



The Mystery of the Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon filled up in just eight hours — that’s 65 times faster than last year. Self-fulfilling prophecy or athletes outrunning the qualifying times? Read More »



Running New York

Ha! That headline probably got you thinking this was a post about Governor Cuomo. It’s not. It’s about an economist trying to keep fit despite the rising demands of work, parenthood, and the shrinking supply of energy that comes in your mid- to late thirties. Read More »



The Communist Approach to Obesity

Here’s one way to fight obesity: mandatory exercise, as Beijing has commanded again, after a three-year break. Read More »



Credible Commitments and Embarrassment, Or Why I’m Telling You I’m Running the Stockholm Marathon

Yesterday, Ian Ayres blogged about his recent weight loss, and frankly, it’s a pretty impressive achievement. The secret, Ian tells us, is finding a clever way to solve the problem in which today’s best intentions are betrayed by our rather less determined selves tomorrow. Ian’s solution — committing to fine yourself if you fail — […] Read More »



Is This the Future of Home Excercise?

It’s one man’s invention, called the Shovelglove. Here’s how he came upon it: It was a rainy Sunday. I hadn’t gone to the gym in over three months, and I was feeling painfully out of shape and antsy to do some kind of exercise. But I didn’t want to go out in the rain, and […] Read More »