A machine that used to be considered punishment is now a $1.4 billion fitness industry

In its 2016 survey, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) found that more than 50 million Americans said they used a treadmill at least once in the previous year. Yet if the monotonous motion feels like torture, well, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The tread wheel, a variation of what we know as the modern treadmill, was used in the 1800s to keep British prisoners from idleness but more so for hard labor.

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