Have any of you read “The Idea Factory: Learning to Think at MIT”? If not, then I’d recommend it. The author, Pepper White, got his Masters (in MechE!) from MIT in 1984 and the book is about his educational experiences at the ‘Tute. I read it before starting college, but I have had many moments that reminded me of things that White had talked about, including long bike rides to clear your mind and “ah-ha” moments while chatting with the shop guys in Pappalardo (where we build out 2.007 robots.) I have also come across several of the professors that White mentioned, which always has a way of making me feel important…
In any case, MIT is known for being the breeding ground of the next big idea in science and engineering, but I thought that today I’d focus on a great idea by MIT Medical. The program is called “[email protected]” and it is a 12-week, team-oriented fitness challenge that is open to the entire MIT community. Teams are comprised of five to eight people, and teams compete based on the average number of minutes exercised each week. The first week’s goal was 150 minutes/week and it gradually increases to 300 minutes/week. We’re now into the 5th week and the goal is 210 minutes. Teams that meet their weekly goals are entered into weekly drawings for prizes.
Summer is just one (or two) blizzards away, so my friends and I decided that we should stop complaining about our laziness and actually do something about it. Our first challenge was to come up with a team name, we decided on “I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing.” Week 1’s competition was for the Best Team name, and we figured that we’d at least be in the top five. Sadly, our sense of humor didn’t align with the judges’. Out of the five finalists, the participants voted on the winner, which ended up being “Buns’n Burners.” I guess you can’t really go wrong with a nerdy name.
The getfit website (http://getfit.mit.edu/) has a function where you can enter your minutes and see other teams’ results. Team Blatieshoe is in the lead; the group of figure skaters have clocked an average of 6,360 minutes per week (with 8 team members.) One team member reported exercising 1,270 minutes last week, that’s three hours a day, seven days a week! I’m also proud of the 5th place team, called “AXO Seniors,” who have an average of 3,980 minutes per week (with 8 team members.) They’re my sorority sisters, so I know that their minutes are legit =). (Thanks to Kim Shive for the extra info on Team Blatieshoe!)
There are two things about this program that I think make it a good idea. The first is that you can see the minutes entered by your team members. So, you can hold team members accountable by sending emails like “Get to the gym!” and when that doesn’t work, “Get to the gym… seriously!” The second is that it’s team-based and encourages group exercise. My team has had a few (semi-embarrassing) basketball games (with very low scores), but at least we had fun and broke a sweat.
In any case, hopefully you all will be inspired by MIT Medical’s idea and start a fitness team of your own. It’ll give you a much deserved break from integrals.