The off-the-shelf Exer-Genie personal exerciser was perfect for spacecraft use because of its small size.
Prior to Apollo 7, the astronauts were charged with finding a way to stay fit. For my book Marketing the Moon written with Richard Jurek, we interviewed Walt Cunningham, Apollo 7 astronaut, about how the Exer-Genie was selected for space flight.
“We knew that we were going to be the first astronauts to have any room to do any exercise,” Walt Cunningham told us. “We are going to floating around and it was to be, I think, the second longest mission at the time and we were looking for something to exercise with. We told that to our training team and they ended up coming back and proposing the Exer-Genie. So we evaluated it to possibly use it in orbit and if it might accomplish the goal.
“Wally, he didn’t want to be bothered with it before we flew because he said it was a pain in ass but I kept pushing it. I think we made a few changes like the straps that we put on, they were fire resistant.
“But when we got in orbit, hell, we had to fight with Wally to get the thing because he was using it so much.”
This particular Exer-Genie, from the Deke Slayton collection, came with a NASA Parts Tag showing numerous inspection and distribution entries on both sides. The last dated entry is dated 24 Nov. 1969, and reads: "Received at MSC Bonded Storage". The part numbers and dates all match up to the final stowage list indicating that the unit flew in space on Apollo 9.