Downtime

Uber Is Now Inviting Riders to Exercise in the Backs of Strangers’ Cars

In this photo illustration the photographer holds up a smartphone showing the Uber app and nearby Uber taxis as regular taxis stand behind
Order a mobile gym along with your ride to work!
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Finding time in a packed schedule to hit the gym or make it to spin class is one of life’s enduring challenges, and one of the many obstacles to finally getting into a regular exercise routine. Who really wants to carve out an hour to toil on the elliptical when they could be on the way to doing something more exciting, like getting a root canal or watching paint dry? Well, everyone’s favorite ride-sharing service has a solution! On Thursday, in collaboration with Adidas and fitness influencer Megan Roup, Uber released a fitness guide designed to help their customers “maximize riding time and ensure [their] minutes in an Uber are well spent.”

The fitness guide consists of six “small isometric movements [that] help sculpt and tone” and are apparently “easy to do with your seatbelt fastened.” The moves target everything from your arms to your core and obliques, and they do indeed look relatively easy to do with a fastened seatbelt (although one of them requires the use of a purse so if you’re one of those people who manage to carry everything in their pockets, you’re out of luck). The fitness guide—with moves demonstrated by someone named Hannah Bronfman who for some reason unknown to me has half a million Instagram followers—is shot in a car that is fancier than any Uber I’ve ridden in, the interior bathed in the bright ring-light glow of influencer advertisements everywhere.

Still, that glow upon Bronfman’s earnestly excited face cannot blind us to the fact that this collaboration is objectively absurd and raises more questions than it answers. What happens if you hit your Uber Pool mate in the head while doing elbow to knee twists or power abs? Sure, doing some heel taps or under the knee reaches might help you expend some “nervous energy en route to a meeting,” but isn’t the point of taking an Uber so you don’t show up to an important meeting sweaty and out of the breath? Who even asked for this? And how much did Roup get paid to develop this guide that is basically the same as every Cosmo “get fit quick” scheme?

As nonsensical as the Uber x Adidas fitness guide might seem, it ultimately makes sense in our current cultural landscape, where influencers have the ability to sell everything from diuretics to a giant scam of a music festival. Uber has had, as you may recall, some PR troubles of late. What better way to get people’s minds off of those pesky issues than with some good apolitical PR that features a couple of wildly successful fitness influencers? The guide will, if nothing else, get people to drag the brand on Twitter. And who knows, maybe some riders will actually start blithely doing calisthenics in the back seat of their hired car and, in their sweat-endorphin haze, forget to think about whether their driver can afford health insurance.