Yes,the gulag is one big exercise. You need exercise to keep healthy. In fact, it even buys you a mental freedom, as also stated by Arbeit macht frei. I have a gulag story too. The grandfather of a Russian pAl told me. He worked in a gulag where they were installing some industrial railway line in the middle of the desert. Every day after the work, they jumped on the locomotives and sat on top of them with vodka bottles holding them high, whilst the locomotive drivers driving at full speed. The nachalniks were shooting at the bottles as they were held out by the prisoners atop the speeding locomotives, and if they hit one bottle, that prisoner had the next day off work.