“Sit up straight!”, “Don’t slouch!”. We’ve all heard these words from our mother more than once while we were growing up. But why is posture important?
The term posture is used to describe how your body is positioned when you’re sitting, standing and lying down. Good posture means your bones are properly aligned and your muscles, joints and ligaments can work as nature intended. It means your vital organs are in the right position and can function at peak efficiency.
Bad posture can cause more problems than most people realise. One in two Americans have a musculoskeletal condition, costing costing an estimated $170 billion in annual treatment. Expenditures in lost wages are estimated to average over $850 billion.
Did you know that just fifteen minutes reading or typing when using the wrong positions exhausts the muscles of your neck, shoulders and upper back?
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Good posture results in doing things with more energy, less stress and fatigue. It portrays a more confident image, breathing becomes easier and deeper, it helps your muscles and joints, it nurtures a healthy spine and it improves circulation and digestion.
We’re a health conscious society today and good posture is a part of it. Even for younger people, how you carry yourself when working, relaxing or playing can have big effects. To help you improve your posture, we’ve pulled together a list of wearables to help train your body into sitting properly.
While compiling this list, we’ve examined functions and features carefully and thoroughly. We try to test every device personally, but where not possible we took user reviews into consideration and dismissed devices with bad customer reviews and low ratings. This left us with the following selection.
Zikto is a virtual coach that analyzes your natural walking movements and sends a gentle vibration alarm to your wrist when imbalance is detected. It can also be used as a basic activity tracker on the top of the call/sms information functions.
While the device looks and functions like a standard fitness tracker, there are a few unique functions which make it different. As we walk, our arms swing in a symmetrical motion to maintain optimal body balance. Zikto has a built-in gyroscope that detects subtle variations in this motion, together with an accelerometer that measures the swing speed at which we are walking. Based on these measurements, the tracker gives a gentle reminder with a vibration on your wrist when you have bad walking posture, such as looking at a smartphone, putting hands in pockets, or hunching your back.
Zikto Walk also detects your body balance. Normally, you wear the device on your preferred side. If you wear it on the other arm once a week or month, Zikto Walk collects and compares data from both arms. It then isolates core areas of the body that need correcting and recommends various exercises to strengthen core muscle groups to avoid further complication or injury.
Now on its second generation, Upright Posture Trainer is a small, comfortable and discreet device that attaches to your back with a hypoallergenic adhesive. The company has turned to crowdfunding a couple of times to develop its products, which have since gone on to become one of the most popular wearables for correcting bad posture.
The original device was primarily intended to correct your lower-back posture while sitting down. Upright Go is smaller than its predecessor, attaches to the upper back, its more affordable, and its designed for on-the-go lifestyles with two modes for both tracking or training. This means you can wear it while sitting, standing, walking or driving. The new edition also does away with disposable adhesive pads and replaces them with reusable stickers, lasting an average of 15 applications.
Lumo Lift is not your average wearable although it does keep tabs on steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned. This gadget tracks core position, upper body position and other nuances of posture.
The Lift is made up of two tiny devices, the tracker and a small, square magnetic plate. The
polycarbonate tracker houses the internal components, while the plate holds the Lift in place on your clothes.
According to Lumo, the Lift works by “detecting curvature at the top of your spine, in addition to the positioning of your shoulders, chest, and upper back.” Using angle displacement as a measure, the biomechanics monitoring sensors in the device allow for the Lumo Lift to know when your body slouches, and gently vibrates to let you know.
Originally an Indiegogo funded project, Prana is the first wearable which combines breath and posture tracking to help you make the most of your sitting time. Building on medical studies and ancient Yoga traditions, the gadget supports the interconnection between good breathing and good posture for many healthy benefits including reduced stress, better focus, and less back pain.
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This little disc clips to your waistband and tracks the way both your diaphragm and chest move in and out while you breathe. When you sit, Prana analyzes your breath patterns and posture, providing you with a ‘quality of breathing score’. It then urges you to make changes through a series of creating patterns, basic movements and simple games.
When you walk, Prana automatically switches to standing mode where it functions as a traditional step tracker.
Most wearables determine posture via devices fixed on your wrist or clothing. Alex, on the other hand, is different because it sits lightly on the back of your neck.
The unique positioning allows Alex to track the angle of your neck and the position of your head, relative to your body. This means it can tell if you’re looking too far down or if you’re holding your head too far forward. When you adopt poor posture for more than a few minutes, Alex vibrates gently, encouraging you to improve.
The accompanying coaching app allows you to monitor your stats in real time. The app also provides graphs that track your progress over time. The feedback settings let you set the length of time before Alex alerts you to poor posture, the angle at which it determines your posture to be poor, and the strength of the vibration.
Darma Sit Smart Cushion
Darma, a Palo Alto-based startup, brings us a gadget that is slightly different from other posture devices covered in this article. The Darma Sit Smart Cushion looks like a normal seat cushion, but is fully integrated with a corresponding app to provide the user with actionable data about their posture.
The smart cushion features a memory foam pad integrated with fiber optic sensors that monitors and alerts the user via a gentle buzz on the cushion or a phone notification of incorrect posture. It will also gather data on your heart rate, stress levels and respiration levels. As the app collects data over time, it also suggests customized breathing exercises and stretches.
The cushion also assists in the relief and treatment of lower back pain and numbness, and reduces pressure on the coccyx, tailbone and hip bones while sitting for long hours. The company says, the patented Fiber Optical Sensor Technology enables the data measurements to reach medical level accuracy, with fast and reliably detection.
Mevics is minimalist and inconspicuous and also doubles up as a basic activity tracker monitoring physical activity throughout the day.
The capsule-like device adheres to your clothing via a magnetic fastener. When it determines you have begun to slouch, it will alert you with a gentle vibration thereby nagging you to sit up straight. Because its hardly noticeable, Mevics is a perfect fit for those who work in a professional setting. The company says the wearable is also great for children, allowing parents to keep an eye on their development.
Mevics is still in development so is only available to pre-order.
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