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The Cruel and Unexpected History of the Treadmill

By Rachel Nussbaum | September 28, 2015 | Greatist

Does running on the treadmill (or should we say dreadmill) feel like torture? Well, historically speaking, you're spot on. As this amusing (and slightly horrifying) TED Ed video explains, the device got its start in English prisons at the beginning of the 19th century. The first machine was a cross between a stair-climber and treadmill: Each step inmates took turned gears, which pumped water, crushed grains, or powered mills (hence the name). What's more: Prisoners were forced to spend about six hours a day, five days a week on that road to nowhere. And here you thought 15 minutes was cruel.

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Rachel Nussbaum
Greatist