From Mental Floss

Exercising on a treadmill can often feel like torture and that’s not a coincidence. 

In 1818, an English civil engineer named Sir William Cubitt devised a machine called the “tread-wheel” to reform stubborn and idle convicts.

Prisoners would step on the 24 spokes of a large paddle wheel, climbing it like a modern StairMaster. As the spokes turned, the gears were used to pump water or crush grain. Hence the eventual name treadmill. Read more…

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