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THE NEXT LOS ANGELES / TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION : Livable L.A. : How can we guild a sense of community and improve the quality of life away from job, freeway and police station? : Solutions : Coin-Operated Exercise Machines

July 17, 1994

FROM: Robert A. Wiswell, chairman of USC's department of exercise science and member of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

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Los Angeles may be the home of glamour gyms, health-obsessed aerobics. But, in fact, a very large portion of our population exercises little or not at all. For many, health club membership or the purchase of home exercise equipment is prohibitively expensive.

So he proposes installing coin-operated exercise machines in shopping malls, supermarkets, churches, community centers, transit stations and parks.

The vending and exercise machine industries could quickly develop new equipment, coin-operated at a modest fee and hardy enough to survive in public settings. Computerized equipment could respond to personalized exercise programs encoded on plastic cards.

REALITY CHECK:

Go for it and feel the burn

Because this would be a profit-making enterprise, there would be no cost to taxpayers. All that's needed are some adventurous entrepreneurs. Questions about safety, hygiene, maintenance and liability need to be answered. But the need, Wiswell says, is clear.

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