Have you exercised today?

We get it: between getting yourself and your family ready for the day, making breakfast and lunches, walking the dog, checking traffic and weather for your commute, synchronizing schedules, and all the other Workday Wonders, you probably haven’t had time. Yet.

Or maybe you have a health condition that makes standard exercise choices difficult or impossible. Or you live in an area or climate that’s not outdoor-exercise friendly. The gym might be far away or just plain intimidating.

Yes, exercise (both cardio and strength training), helps us maintain our bones, stay strong or get stronger, it improves balance and endurance, helps us maintain our weight, promotes greater heart, brain, and emotional health, and reduces the risk of many diseases… but … it’s hard.

What if… and we know we’re reaching here … what if it weren’t so hard?

How can we make exercise easier, more accessible, and more enjoyable?

Exercising regularly is not just a matter of better scheduling or more willpower. It’s accessibility, privacy, convenience, affordability, and a host of other concerns that just make it feel impossible.

One woman who is really lowering the barriers is Michele Mehl of Excy. She’s created a full-body cycling device that is so convenient and effective, the only resistance you’ll feel is coming from the machine.

We asked Michele to explain why fitness is so important, and how she’s helping women achieve their best selves.

Why is fitness so critical for women in midlife?

According to Michele, “The scientific benefits of exercise–slower aging, better mood, less chronic pain, preventing disease–are real, measurable and almost immediate.” She’s right. When it comes to midlife, studies have shown that midlife fitness may be associated with the compression of morbidity in older age. Translation: motion is lotion for the joints in midlife and is instrumental in helping us live with less disease, less pain, and fewer illnesses.

In fact, research shows that regular exercise helps with chronic disease prevention and management, Michele says, even when someone is going through cancer treatment and living with other conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis.

“With just over 100 million people having multiple chronic conditions, and 54 million of  them being women, we must start talking more about the science of exercise and how it helps the heart, muscles, lungs, bones, and brain.”

[Check out video of Michele and genneve CEO Jill Angelo exercising together as part of the Founders Fight Cancer campaign for breast cancer awareness month!]

Why is Excy such a good fitness solution for women?

Excy eliminates common fitness barriers of time and space by making quality, full-body cardio, strength training, and rehabilitation exercises safely available to anyone, anywhere, Michele tells us. “Within seconds, Excy can be easily converted into a gym-quality recumbent exercise bike, upper body ergometer, full-body resistance-based gym, desk cycle, or even a peddler to exercise in bed.”

Exercise in bed? Does it get any better? In fact, it does.

“Excy is optimized for efficient cardio and strength training without impacting joints. Millions of women struggle with mobility limitations that make walking, running frequently, climbing stairs, cycling, or getting enough exercise challenging. We open up a world of exercise for them at home, work, or on the go.”

Plus, Excy weighs only 14 pounds and folds up, so you can take your fitness gym and regime with you, wherever you go, and use it in a limited space – like a hotel room. Excy also offers free mobile coaching applications for guided training, including videos from physical therapists.

Where did the Excy inspiration come from?

Like so many innovations, Excy is a product of its creator’s own personal woes that led to a broader desire to help others in similar situations.

“A busy schedule and family history of heart disease got me thinking about a better, more convenient way to exercise for a healthier quality of life. I recruited my co-founder Mike Rector to begin prototyping a portable stationary exercise bike, one that promoted the same quality of exercises offered at a gym or a spin class, but portable enough to use anywhere.

“Just as we were in that phase, I broke my leg. Emergency surgery led to a rod, 10 screws, and a plate to hold it all together, as well as a blood clot. Two additional surgeries followed, leaving me in a boot for five months. To say my morale was low would be an understatement.

“Yet during these non-weight-bearing months, Mike and I both embraced the injury to rapidly innovate our design. I worked with my physical therapist in the clinic to recover, and at home I was able to keep my upper body strong and burn over 450 calories using Excy’s ergometer features. When my insurance would no longer pay for PT, I continued to manage my leg’s rehab with Excy recumbent bike movements at home. I had an entire rehab facility at my disposal!

“After months of physical therapy and relying on caretakers, I got just a small glimpse into the plight of those living with injury, disability, and disease. It was an eye-opening experience that led to a new dialog with potential customers. That inspired us to help those who fall outside of the traditional fitness mold gain unprecedented access to a new way of staying healthy and strong.”

How did you know how to build Excy?

Excy is built on a strong cycling and high-tech foundation. Michele spent more than 20 years working for technology startups innovating around consumer experiences and products. Partner Mike has more than 30 years at the forefront of tech, part of prototyping teams responsible for tablets, simulators, and robotics.

Says Michele, “Mike brings tremendous manufacturing, operations, and product development knowledge to Excy and a lifelong passion for cycling. I’ve had the blessing of leveraging my collegiate athletic background, injuries, and marketing to inform how the machine is built but also how we let women know about it.”

Learn more about Excy at their website.

“Everyone deserves easy access to consistently and safely enjoy the health benefits of strength training and cardio exercise,” Michele says. “We need to start treating exercise like the miracle drug it is. It really is that important. But it’s not good enough to just tell someone they need to exercise more. That’s like handing someone with high blood pressure a bottle of pills for Parkinson’s disease. Not everyone needs the same prescription. You need to find the thing you’ll do and do it.”

How do you keep yourself fit? We’d love to hear about your exercise challenges and triumphs, so please feel free to comment here, or start a thread in our community forums. You can also reach out to us on genneve’s public Facebook page or in our closed Facebook group.



Shannon Perry

Shannon is a celebrated author and global educator. Whether she’s interviewing a physician or producing a podcast, her appetite for research, facts, and truth culminates in credible health education and programming that women can rely on. An avid runner, cyclist, and climber, Shannon knows a thing or two about thriving in midlife and lives in Seattle with her cat, dog and boyfriend.


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