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You know how your mom would always tell you to stop slouching? Or she’d casually mention that your spine would permanently curve if you didn’t sit up straight? You might have straightened up when she was looking but the second her back was turned, you went right back to slouching.

But slouching leads to back pain, at least for some of us. I was in a bad car crash when I was 17, so I’ve suffered intermittent back pain for most of my life. Slouching and poor posture really does make the pain worse, yet I can’t say I’ve ever really focused that much on improving my posture until the Lumo Lift, a small fitness activity tracker that coaches you to have better posture, arrived at my door.

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As I’ve discovered over a week of testing the Lumo Lift, consistently having good posture isn’t a slam-dunk. I’m using it as I write this review, and it’s buzzing at me like crazy, so I know I’ve got a long way to go as far as my posture is concerned.

Here’s a quick look at the features on the Lumo Lift:

  • Small, lightweight activity tracker – it’s 4 x 2.5 x 1.3 cm and weighs only 14g
  • Has Posture Alert and vibrates when your posture is poor throughout the day
  • The Posture Coach works with you for a set period of time encourages you to sit and stand tall
  • Tracks steps, distance, and calories burned
  • Lithium Polymer battery that fully charges in 2 hours
  • Stores up to 4 weeks of data
  • Charges via included USB charging dock
  • Synchs via Bluetooth

 

Improve your posture, improve your life?

In the case of good posture, your mother might have been right. Besides causing back and shoulder pain, slouching can affect how people perceive you because that slouch is part of your body language. In general, slouching gives off a vibe of ‘Stay away’ or “I’m not happy to be here.”

But when you stand up straight and tall, you’re letting people know you mean business, and research on posture backs that up. According to the Science of Posture, standing or sitting up straight and tall will make you feel happier, more powerful, and can affect the way others perceive you.

The reasons why people slouch are varied – maybe they lack confidence or maybe it’s a habit picked up in the teen years, but no matter why you slouch, Lumo Lift can help you correct it, or at least that’s what I discovered after a week of using it.

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Lumo_lift-1 copy.jpg#Winning, or not

When I first pinned on the Lumo Lift, I barely noticed it was there.  It’s small, about the size of a small rock, and it attaches to your clothes using a small magnet that is included. The image above shows the black square magnet on the outside of my blue shirt, the Lift is beneath my shirt. You can wear it on your shirt or underneath it and it will work either way.

Once I downloaded the Lumo Lift app and synched the Lumo Lift via Bluetooth, I was ready to get started. For posture tracking, there are two options – align, which tracks you throughout the day, and coaching, which gives you ‘sessions’ where you consciously spend time monitoring your posture.

Every time you put the Lumo Lift on, you’ll have to calibrate the device. To do that, you just pin it on where you’d like to wear it and tap the button on the Lumo Lift twice. Once it’s calibrated, it will monitor you throughout the day and let you know how you’re posture is doing. I went about my business for several hours before I checked in to see my progress, and was not so surprised to discover I had a pretty ‘slouchy’ morning. Whoops.

Apparently I was in need of a coaching session, so I decided to try and see how long I could actually maintain good posture. I logged into the app and choose a 20 minute coaching session, then watched minute by minute as the screen flashed from green, complete with encouraging messages like #winning, to red, with a few verbal barbs to get me back on track. The Lumo Lift will also vibrate, so you don’t have to sit riveted to your phone screen to know whether or not you’re slouching.

I’m not kidding when I say it was really hard to maintain, and what an eye opener about how terrible my posture is. I spend a lot of time slouching over the computer, and I’ll admit my back felt a lot better when I kept my shoulders up and focused on how I sat.

Lumo-Lift copy.jpgWearable technology is more fun with friends

Just for fun, I tried the Lumo Lift coaching sessions out on a few other people. I thought my 13-year-old daughter had fairly decent posture, but Lumo Lift proved me wrong. Once we calibrated it and started a coaching session, she managed to get through 15 minutes without moving that much. But when it was over? She practically collapsed into a puddle on a chair and very happily resumed slouching. Unfortunately for her, after using the Lumo Lift, I’ve now become the mom who tells her to sit up straighter.

I even recruited a few moms in the hallway at my kid’s school and let them try it for an hour each. They both thought they had OK posture, but once they started a coaching session, the constant vibration to correct their stance showed them just how much time they spent slouching. One of the ladies who tried it said it vibrated pretty much the entire time – so much so she actually thought it was malfunctioning. To her surprise and mine, she was just slouching a lot, even when she thought she wasn’t.

More than just a posture checker

The main purpose of the Lumo Lift is to improve your posture, but that’s not all this little device does. It works as a pedometer, and it measures your steps, distance, and calories burned while you’re doing daily activities. If you want to set a goal during the day for how many steps you’d like to take or see your progress, just login to the app and everything is right there. It will store up to 4 weeks of data so you can look back and see your progress.

It doesn’t pull any punches either – I usually work during the mornings and spend the afternoons running around, so when it measured my data during the morning, it told me I was having a ‘slouchy’ day and I’ve been ‘at rest’ since 9 am despite the fact that I’d been up and moving around since 6:30 am. I think the Lumo’s idea of at rest is slightly different than mine, but if that’s not motivation to get moving, I don’t know what is.

At the end of a few days wearing the Lumo Lift, I found myself wishing I had one of these when I was a teenager, because if I focused on my posture I could have saved myself a lot of pain right now.

Overall, I really liked the Lumo Lift and the idea behind it, and I can confirm that improving your posture really does have positive effect on your overall mood and it definitely eased my back pain. If you’ve never thought about your posture or you’d like to start, the Lumo Lift is the perfect device.

The Lumo Lift is coming soon to Bestbuy.ca. While you wait, be sure to check out all of the great wearable technology and fitness activity trackers available right now.

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