Depictions of exercise in science fiction?
August 22, 2016 2:34 PM   Subscribe

In the classic Total Recall there's an amazing scene of Sharon Stone receiving virtual tennis instruction. There's an incredible jogging scene in 2001. I am probing the hive to find more depictions of science fictional takes on personal fitness, training and athletics. I am more interested in futuristic and novel forms of exercise rather than the usual dystopian violence of things like "Rollerball". What does the gym of the future look like?
posted by anthonymosc to Media & Arts (31 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Check out Black Mirror's Season 1 episode 2, definitely.
posted by correcaminos at 2:38 PM on August 22, 2016 [7 favorites]

The Matrix
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:40 PM on August 22, 2016

Wall-E has several of these.
posted by bigbigdog at 2:53 PM on August 22, 2016

In Star Trek, some characters use the Holodeck to work out. Unfortunately I can't recall specific types of activity or episodes.
posted by bunderful at 2:56 PM on August 22, 2016

In 2001:A Space Odyssey, one of the characters is jogging around the interior of the circular station. Essentially he's jogging in place as the station revolves.

And in Outland, Sean Connery's character plays a futuristic version of squash on a court that lights up in quadrants.
posted by ninazer0 at 2:59 PM on August 22, 2016

GATTACA has a lot of exercise scenes as I recall.
posted by Quizicalcoatl at 3:08 PM on August 22, 2016

Black Mirror had an episode focused around exercise bikes. From wiki: "In this world, everyone must cycle on exercise bikes in order to power their surroundings and generate currency called Merits. Obese people are considered to be second-class citizens, and either work as cleaners around the machines (where they receive verbal abuse) or are humiliated on game shows."
posted by LKWorking at 3:08 PM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Came to say Gattaca, but since that's already been taken, Moon has some of this too.
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:12 PM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

It may not really fit, but I always thought that the unisex showers/change rooms were an interesting thing in Starship Troopers. It was a way to show a whole lot of boob and butt and I get that (and am not sure if it originates in the book) but it's a scene that shows a difference in the mores regarding how bodies are viewed, which is arguably more alien/futuristic than a warp-powered rowing machine.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:22 PM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

bunderful: In Star Trek, some characters use the Holodeck to work out. Unfortunately I can't recall specific types of activity or episodes.

(edit to say potential Star Trek spoilers in the links)

In TNG at least, many of these were fairly "20th C" (Picard rode horses, Wesley went skiing, Dr. Crusher danced).

Memorable "future sports" include Parrises squares, Anbo-jyutsu, Mok'bara, and, of course, Worf's "calisthenics program."

More complete list here.
posted by mustardayonnaise at 3:28 PM on August 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 (but that is old school stuff)
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:37 PM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

In movies you've got The Martian with a gym (only treadmill shown used). In Avatar just weight lifting.

Books: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (weights and sleeping in weighted pajamas to get used to full gravity), one of the RAH shorts has full wing flying in a cave with fans (shown in a Futurama episode by Leela and Amy) ...
posted by tilde at 3:39 PM on August 22, 2016

The thugs in The Diamond Age get exercise from muscle induction implants.
posted by grobstein at 3:51 PM on August 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hey, Vasquez...
posted by j_curiouser at 3:52 PM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Welcome to the 2492 Interplanetary Olympic Games! (warning: Buck Rogers)
posted by JohnFromGR at 4:10 PM on August 22, 2016

It's been awhile since I've watched it, but I want to say Silent Running has some yoga or light calisthenics in it.
posted by rhizome at 4:16 PM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

In Battlestar Galactica they have a sport called Pyramid.

Futurama has blernsball.
posted by shponglespore at 4:21 PM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

As a followup to bunderful, Memory Alpha search for exercise brings up a pretty exhaustive list, mostly adaptations of normal earth activity

One that I remembered offhand was Crusher and Troi stretching in the most eighties of spandex. Also, Riker and his father fighting with anbo-jyutsu, the ULTIMATE EVOLUTION OF MARTIAL ARTS. (There is a silly i09 article if you want to have a match of your own.) Also also Worf taught martial arts classes.
posted by theweasel at 4:50 PM on August 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

In Starship troopers they play Future Football
posted by TomFoolery at 4:54 PM on August 22, 2016

Futurama has the Kegelcizer.
posted by ejs at 6:43 PM on August 22, 2016

Skylab had a gym, and I'm pretty sure that there's one on the ISS...not sci-fi, but definitely part of the future we live in. (Tl,dr; mostly consisting of conventional gym equipment (treadmills, stationary bikes etc) with elastic bands substituting for gravity)
posted by sexyrobot at 7:54 PM on August 22, 2016

1981's _Outland_ has Video Space Golf. Also it gives Frances Sternhagen some great lines. One hunnnnnnnnndrrrrrrred. One thooooooouuuuuusand.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:23 PM on August 22, 2016

Captain Freedom knows a thing or two about pain and working out. (From The Running Man.)
posted by Hactar at 10:00 PM on August 22, 2016

Karl Schroeder's Virga series takes place in a hollow balloon some 5,000 kilometers across (some background spoilers here), filled with breathable-by-humans atmosphere. Within that volume, some habitats rotate, creating their own gravity. Others, however, do not. Anyone who spends a prolonged period in a gravity-free habitat, of course, suffers health consequences, including weakened muscles.

In one scene, a trader who lives on one such zero-g island flags down a passing traveler (one of the main characters) and pays the traveler to hook his vehicle (a kind of flying "bike") up to the habitat to temporarily give it some gravity. The trader does this so that he can build up some muscle mass before going on a trade mission to some habitats that do have gravity. During this period of temporary gravity, I think the trader just kind of miserably passes the time in his home, not moving about much.

It's a small scene, and not really relevant to the overall plot as I recall, but an interesting way to build up your muscles!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:11 PM on August 22, 2016

Pumzi has gymnasium scenes. The setting is "East African Territory, 35 years after World War III". They are so short of water that they even harvest the sweat from people exercising.
posted by Weftage at 6:27 AM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

The menace from earth (short story...problematic...sexism...1950s) is pretty much all about the sport of flying on the moon (low gravity+huge air storage cavern=human birdlike flight)
posted by sexyrobot at 1:25 PM on August 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

The 4th "Red Dwarf" episode, Bodyswap has Rimmer (a hologram) suggesting that the perfect way to help Lister get "healthy" is swapping bodies. He convinces Lister to swap bodies with him. He will be able to enjoy the benefits of a tangible body again for two weeks, while he exercises and gets Lister back into shape. However, unable to resist the pleasures he has been denied for so long, he eats, drinks and smokes far more than Lister ever would have, putting on quite a bit of weight in the process. Lister is naturally appalled and demands his heavily abused body back after just one week.
posted by guy72277 at 5:10 AM on August 24, 2016

The movie version of PKD's Paycheck shows Ben Affleck in a near-future gym doing a hit-the-blinking-light workout with a bo staff to get himself hyped up. (Perhaps based on the Slam Man boxing dummy that came out around the same time?)
posted by bartleby at 5:32 PM on August 24, 2016

Following from grobstein's comment above, The Diamond Age also features fancy gym equipment for the Neo-Victorians:
"...Gwendolyn's exercise equipment, which gleamed in the dim light scattering off the clouds from Shanghai: a step unit done up in Beaux-Arts ironmongery, a rowing machine cleverly fashioned of writhing sea-serpents and hard-bodied nereids, a rack of free weights supported by four callipygious caryatids-not chunky Greeks but modern women, one of each major racial group, each tricep, gluteus, latissimus, sartorius, and rectus abdominus casting its own highlight. Classical architecture indeed. The caryatids were supposed to be role models, and despite subtle racial differences, each body fit the current ideal: twenty-two-inch waist, no more than 17% body fat. That kind of body couldn't be faked with undergarments, never mind what the ads in the women's magazines claimed; the long tight bodices of the current mode, and modern fabrics thinner than soap bubbles, made everything obvious. Most women who didn't have superhuman willpower couldn't manage it without the help of a lady's maid who would run them through two or even three vigorous workouts a day."
posted by quatsch at 1:58 PM on August 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

Edge of Tomorrow (2014...Tom Cruise) has a bunch of futuristic exercise, particularly training for battle against aliens using giant, helicopter-bladed robot arms as opponents.
posted by sexyrobot at 5:41 PM on August 25, 2016

In the original Star Wars movie (Ep IV "A New Hope") Luke Skywalker practices his lightsaber skills against a hovering sparring droid while blindfolded.
posted by contraption at 4:46 PM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

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