Friday, May 25, 2012

Staircase to No Where

From the traffic capital of the United States, the Washington DC Metropolitan area, a town where you can't  ever schedule a meeting with out adding, "I'll be there around...", a new report has surfaced.  Apparently people who have over a 45 minute commute in traffic are more depressed, weigh more, and eat more, a lot of it while in the car.  The report also notes that people with long commutes don't get as much exercise.  Who wants to get back in the car and drive to the gym after 45 minutes of bumper to bumper 15 mile an hour traffic.

All this brings me to Walter Harrison and Samuel Talbot, the inventors of the Exercise Escalator. The Exercise Escalator which appears to be the predecessor to the Stair Master, is an "in place" exerciser which resembles a reverse action escalator. Mr. Harrison and Mr Talbot's invention is covered by patent 3,497,215. It was filed in 1967.

The invention claims, "An escalator type apparatus for exercising a subject "in situ" in a simulated stair climbing activity, comprising a structure including a flight of steps movable in a closed loop, each step having a closed riser affixed thereto, and means operatively connected to said apparatus for measuring the effort of a subject in the act of simulated climbing of said movable steps." They invented the stair case to nowhere.

The Exercise Escalator is especially suited for multi-lead electrocardiography during the exercise of patients with coronary heart disease...presenting minimal danger to the weak and unsteady; one which exercises the muscles habitually used by nonathletic people..." I think the commuting crowd qualifies here.

So as you mount the stair master or what every stair climbing cardio device you find in your over crowded gym, that is if you get yourself there, think of Mr. Harrison and Mr. Talbot's invention and the their contribution to the exercise annual ritual.