As if the net effects of sitting all day long weren't scary enough, hovering for hours over a flickering screen certainly isn't doing much to combat the poor posture epidemic, either. But thanks to a new wearable device that combines the functionalities of an activity tracker with the prodding of a posture coach, you can walk taller and feel fitter all at the same time.
The thumb-sized dongle known as Lumo Liftofficially launches today (August 26th), but I've been living with it for a few weeks now. I found it to be quite the kick in the butt (and back) I've been needing. What up, self-improvement?
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Unlike many popular fitness trackers, this system is, for the most part, invisible to others and clasps beneath your shirt collar with a small powerful magnet. Frankly, it is so light and unobtrusive that I forgot I had it on for most of the day. To set it up, all you have to do is download the app and pair the device via Bluetooth. So long as you're within range of your phone, the two will continuously be in sync.
While I'm always down to get the scoop on how active I am throughout the day (and have been known to engage in some friendly Fitbit step-counting competitions), the most exciting feature for me was the Posture Coach mode. When engaged, it vibrated every time I slouched from my upper back. And trust me, as gentle as that little reminder may be, it's nonetheless jarring and effective. We're all used to a pocket vibrating due to a text or phone call, but buzzing collar bone? No thanks.
After roughly 30 minutes of obnoxious buzzing, I was conscious about preemptively correcting my posture. Never underestimate the power of an oddly located dzzzz dzzzz dzzzz.
You can keep Coach mode engaged for as long or as little as you'd like, but even when it isn't actively buzzing you, the device is constantly tracking your posture, and will rate how well or poorly you've been doing every time you open the app.
As for activity tracking, it is perpetually counting your steps, measuring distance traveled and calories burned. It even provides a nice visual breakdown of how active you were hour by hour. If you easily give in to accusations of laziness, this should hit you right where it hurts. And safe to say, most of us could stand to get up and move a little more often and, well, stand a little taller. It's on us all not to devolve into a bunch of nasty hunchbacks.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor and slouch at large at Supercompressor.