Keeping fit while travelling for work is a tall order. Soulless gyms, lack of motivation and a tendency towards stuffing your face to cope with the upheaval of routine can all take their toll. Enter the Activ5.
I’ll confess, I was dubious. There are a heck of a lot of gimmicks that purport to help the business traveller and not all seem to be have been created with integrity. Besides, I’m an advocate of fitting free exercise into your daily routine via a bike ride to work, lunchtime stroll or YouTube video at home. However, that’s easier said than done when office based or travelling for work.
The Activ5 is a palm-sized device (not a wearable). It offers isometric-based training. According to the blurb this is ‘an exercise that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years’, leading me to fantasise that the figures in ancient Egyptian artworks are concealing an Activ5 in their palms as they hold their distinctive, angular shapes.
So what are isometric exercises? Apparently, they are a type of strength training during which the muscles are tensed but not lengthened. So the plank is a type of isometric hold, whereby the exerciser uses their own body for resistance.
To get started you download the app, register and then connect the device via Bluetooth. I can confirm this all worked tickety boo. Though my phone did ask for a pin to connect, which was a new development. FYI, a quick Google search reveals that the Bluetooth pin is almost always 0000, 1111, 1234, should this happen to you, too.
Once I was set up, I had access to more than 100 workouts for the entire body. Before each one I held the Activ5 in my palm and applied pressure so that my maximum strength could be measured. Once done, I could start a work out, each gamified. So the app would demonstrate a position and I would have to repeatedly apply pressure to the device to move a dot on my phone screen to hit targets, a bit like Space Invaders but with simpler graphics. (Other game options are available.)
I tried the exercises at my desk and can confirm I felt tired but also enjoyed them – I even broke a sweat and, without blowing my own trumpet, I’m reasonably fit. The Activ5 is, dare I say it, fun and effective. The app tracks your results, showing you how much progress you are making over the weeks and encouraging you to keep going.
Of particular interest to those travelling for work will be the Office, Car/Plane/Train and Hotel workouts. Designed to be discreet, they can be carried out with minimal movement and space so that you can stay active on the go without scaring the person sat next to you.
Workouts are as short as 30 seconds, and battery life is excellent at between 6 and 12 month. The device takes an AAA battery.
I’d definitely recommend this for those travelling for work. Not only will it help keep you active, but it’s also fun and a better use of your time if you have spare minutes time to kill on a trip than playing some dreadful online game. It’s not cheap, but ultimately it could be better value than a gym membership.