This introduces a bi-weekly column on exercise gear.
For the past few weeks, I've not worn a watch or any of my favourite bracelets. In their place: Banglz, two half-pound weighted bands.
These aren't just any wrist weights. Because the iron-sand-filled bracelets are covered in a soft jersey material, they look like oversized scrunchies. My brown and white printed pair reminds me of a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress.
Banglz are touted as a "wearable workout." The brainchild of Philadelphia-area mompreneurs Annie Ulichney and Kim Koelle, they are supposed to offer an everyday way to aid arm toning.
Their company, FitnessUwear, is also responsible for the SmartSlip, a sausage-casing-like undergarment that adds resistance to lower body movements. The theory is that with each step, the glutes, hips and legs must work extra hard to achieve normal mobility. (Added bonus: It sucks everything in.) I walked up a hill wearing my SmartSlip on a muggy morning and felt like I had done 20 lunges by the time I reached the top.
Neither Banglz nor SmartSlip takes the place of a personal trainer - and Ms. Ulichney acknowledges as much. "They are meant to be used in tandem with exercise or as something that people can do when they can't get to the gym," she says, saying that each can be worn for up to eight hours.
Asked to comment on the notion of wearing wrist weights throughout the day, however, chiropractor Mike Prebeg of Athlete's Care in Toronto warned, "If you have poor posture, they can make things worse. If you have good posture, they can be an asset. My advice would be to wear with caution. I'd use them for a brisk walk or activities when we are already aware of our posture. Otherwise, I don't think we need to tax our bodies more than we do."
The wrist weights come in a variety of fashion prints, although minimalists will take pleasure in basic black. As for the slip, go up a size; it will make all the difference between walking like a penguin and a challenging stride.
I wore my Banglz and SmartSlip at the office, and sported the wrist weights while exercising. I've yet to get Michelle Obama's muscled arms but I can say I'm noticing less jiggle.
So will I continue to wear these fitness items? A solid maybe to the SmartSlip. As for the Banglz, absolutely - at least until I find a pair of chunky bracelets that weigh more.
SmartSlip, from $41.95 (U.S)
Banglz, from $24.95