Where Did Treadmills Originate? Personal Trainer Explains!

Where Did Treadmills Originate? Personal Trainer Explains!

Personal Trainer Fun Fact

Did You Know, Treadmills Were Originally Used for Prison Labor

Have you ever felt like running on a treadmill was torture, well that’s essentially what it was used for in early prisons. In 1818, an English civil engineer named Sir William Cubitt invented the first treadmill, and named it the “tread-wheel,” although it resembled more of a modern day Stairmaster. Prisoners would step continuously on the “tread-wheel” for a strenuous 8 hour shift, either pumping water or crushing grain. In those 8 hours prisoners would climb the equivalent of 7,200 feet! Now that’s a workout! In England this treadmill maltreatment continued until the 19th century when it was eventually deemed too cruel. The treadmill was all but forgotten, until it was resurrected by Dr. Kenneth Cooper in the 1960’s when aerobic exercises were shown to provide great health benefits!

Written By: Robert Jost

Personal Trainer and Exercise Specialist 


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