Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode # 368
I’ve been playing (actually, working out) with an Activ5 Portable Fitness Device from Activbody for the past few weeks and so far, I’m impressed.
Before I explain, here’s some background: I don’t get much exercise as I sit in front of my Mac most of the day. And I hate going to a gym—it chews up too much time and usually smells funny.
While I do walk 5 or more miles every day to get some exercise, I know that my core and upper body aren’t getting a lot of love. Which is why I’m so impressed with Activ5.
So, what, exactly, is Activ5? It’s is a small, battery-operated handheld device about the size of a flattened tangerine.
It measures compressive force when you press its exterior surfaces either between two body parts (like your palms or your bicep and forearm) or when you press it against a stationary object (such as a desktop or the floor) with a body part while the free iOS (or Android) companion app coaches you through exercises.
There’s plenty of variety with more than 100 different workout programs in categories such as Upper Body, Lower Body, Get Strong, Get Toned, Yoga/Pilates, Awesome Abs, Butt Burner, Healthy Joints (one of my favorites), and Car/Plane/Train to name a few. Each workout program includes up to 18 separate exercises, or you can choose an exercise aimed at a specific body part such as Shoulders, Chest, Biceps, Core, Obliques, and such.
Most workouts are no more than 5 minutes and I’m trying (not so successfully) to complete three workouts a day (which is less time than it takes me to drive to the gym).
Activ5 comes with an adjustable plastic smartphone stand, a nice touch that is handy with Activ5’s exercise programs that require the use of both hands.
The exercises are easy to follow. You set a maximum resistance level the first time, and the app adjusts to your fitness level automatically and provides the appropriate workout.
If you’re a fan of the Apple Health app, you’ll be happy to know your workouts are reported and integrated and there’s an Apple Watch app that displays heart rate, calories burned, and time spent working out.
Finally, if, like me, you’d rather play games than exercise, there are several games available that use the Activ5 as a controller. My favorite is Activ Fly, in which a paper airplane flies across the screen. You control its flight by squeezing harder to go higher or softer to go lower, and the object is to collect all of the stars on the screen without crashing into a building or other object. It’s fun, more challenging than you might expect, and gives your hands and arms a decent workout.
One last thing: Activebody recommends you consult a physician to see if isometric exercise is recommended for you before you begin, which isn’t a bad idea.
Activ5 is on sale for $119.90 (regularly $129.90). I’ve spent more on gym memberships and fitness gear I never used, which is why I’m impressed Activ5 and continue using it every day.