horizon wrote:The theory is that we are technologising ourselves out of much needed exercise...
So if the dish washer is an example of technology replacing physical exertion, then an exercise machine is a possible corollary: a machine that necessitates exertion. Of course, that doesn't mean that people don't take exercise in the fresh air (while the dish washer is washing the dishes), just that there is a need to create the possibility of exercise because work, life and travel don't create enough. IMV the dish washer is very symbolic, but plenty of other examples of labour-saving exist...
Another aspect of the indoor exercise machine is of course that it is indoors and I would say there are arguments to be made for taking exercise out of doors. But this goes hand-in-hand with saying that perhaps we need to change the way we live so that both exercise and the outdoors are part of what we do rather than a separate thing in life.
I guess this could turn in a long side discussion, but I generally agree that it is better to have exercise and outdoors as a part of everyday life. And I have, for the most part done that. I'd rather be outdoors than in for very many things, and I generally do so. I walk or cycle or use public transport for most of my travel needs. For example, last night, Mini V stayed overnight with friend who lives a little more than a mile away. There is a nice mixed (part traffic calmed residential street & part motor traffic free cycle/foot path) route to walk, so we did. When I was coming back, I took a longer route and walked along the river. That probably added a 1/2 mile to my return route.
Dishwashing, however, is not exercise. It may burn a few more calories than loading & unloading the dishwasher, but it's not much different to sitting or standing at a desk. Furthermore, while habits with both approaches to washing up vary considerably, several studies have shown that using a machine uses less water, energy, and washing up liquid/powder than doing it by hand, as long as the dishwasher is relatively full, and you scrape (not rinse) the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
It is true that work, life, and travel don't create many opportunities for exercise, but the biggest contributor is the motor car. Getting rid of it, or at least enabling more people to walk and cycle and making it much more difficult to use the car for short journeys, fixes much of the problem.
We aren't technologising us out or exercise. We are technologising ourselves longer lives. 100 years ago, when many more people worked on farms and in factories because we lacked automation for many things, also died at an average age of 50 years old. Not only because of disease and war, and the lack of an NHS, but also because physical labour wrecked their bodies. Farming, mining, construction, and factory work killed many workers both directly and indirectly.
If exercise machines are the price we pay for improving that, I'm all for it.
Lastly, as for using turbo trainers, spinning bikes, etc. there are all sort of reasons for doing so, and if someone doesn't feel safe combining transport with exercise (e.g. walking or cycling when it's dark & icy and the infrastructure is motor-centric) has less to with technology in general than it has to with the specific technology of the motor car and what it has done to our cultures.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom