Have any of you folks ever come across a candid picture of yourself, and thought: "Acccck, that's awful! Who is that sad, hunched-over creature who looks so meek and schlumpy? It can't be me, can it?
Even pretty models are apparently not immune:
If you're like me, this a depressingly familiar occurrence. You cringe at the evidence; you straighten up the best you can, and try to convince yourself that this was just a temporary "slip." From now on you will hold yourself in a graceful erect position and stop that lazy slouching for all eternity!
And then ten seconds later you forget and you're slouching again.
I know bad posture can lead to back and neck problems, and I have actually tried to work on it myself. I've done stretches and upper body exercises at the gym. I've gone on campaigns of trying to remind myself to check and correct my posture more frequently. But I have such a tiny brain, this never works! The best I can do is remember for a minute or two, and then it's back to the usual slouch-fest.
So when I saw review at Workout Mommy of a wearable gizmo that promised to vibrate when I slumped and would act as "my own personal posture coach," I thought: Heck yes! Sign me up! Slap me upside the head (in a discreet, kind, loving way) whenever you catch me hunching over like Quasimodo! Lord knows I can't do it on my own.
So I got the kind folks at iPosture folks to send me one to review. I tried it... and overall, I think it's great! You can learn more about it at the iPosture website. But here's my report:
What it Is and What it Does:
The iPosture is a little disc, just over one inch in diameter. It's sort of the size of a campaign button (the tasteful kind, not the big goofy kind), although it's a bit thicker. The iPosture "automatically senses when the body slouches, and it alerts the user with brief vibrations to correct it."
You wear the gizmo somewhere in your chest area. You can use little sticky things (included), wear it as a "stylish" pendant (ha ha ha), or clip it to your bra or a form-fitting shirt.
I used the bra option. Guys: you probably don't want to use that particular method.
You then stand up (or sit up) straight, set the posture you'd like it to remember, then hit a button. If you slouch for more than 60 seconds, the iPosture vibrates. If you're stubborn or distracted and don't correct your posture, the iPosture will
What you can't do with the iPosture:
Wear it exercising (other than walking around), bathe with it on, wear it swimming, or even sweat a whole bunch. The thingy doesn't like to get wet. Also, you can't wear it sleeping--for those of you who might otherwise be tempted to wake yourself up every sixty seconds all night long.
Things I really like about it:
1. In most situations, it seems to work really well! You forget you have it on, start to slump, and it reminds you to straighten up again.
Theoretically, after a few weeks of wearing it 4 hours a day you're supposed to start self-correcting more naturally, so you wear it less, and just use it to check that you're still not slouching and have learned your lesson.
I've only been doing it a couple days, so can't report on long-term success. But while I'm wearing it, I'm definitely spending much less time slouching.
2. Sensible instructions: they advise you not to set your "ideal" posture too strictly, and not exceed the 4 hours a day. The idea is you allow your body to gradually adjust and build up the necessary muscles. I was a bit sore after wearing it for way more than four hours (because of course I ignored their advice). My previous attempts at self-correction never worked well enough for me to actually feel sore, so this seemed like a good thing!
3. The 60-second requirement keeps the thing from going off unless you're settling in for a real slouch, not just bending over to do something. So when it does go off you're more likely to notice and pay attention.
4. Easy to use: it came with a battery already installed, and was easy to set up. And it has a "sleep" mode if you want it to leave you alone for 15 minutes while you're still wearing it.
Dire but Amusing Safety Warnings:
Watch out that you don't lose control of the springy metal clip and nail someone in the eye with it! You are also cautioned not to expose the battery to excessive heat or short-circuit it, or the whole thing could explode. (An exploding posture monitor, on the other hand, would REALLY get your attention. You'd probably never slouch again in your life--once you got out of the hospital.
But of course my favorite: "The iPosture is for external use only."
Things I Wasn't as Crazy About:
1. Sometimes it didn't seem to be quite vigilant enough. This was probably user-error. But there were times I'd realize I'd started to slouch, and felt like it had been well longer than a minute, but I hadn't gotten a vibration. Or perhaps I did but didn't notice it? This mostly happened while I was outside walking, or sitting in a soft chair or car seat. Perhaps it's less able to catch slumping in these situations. But in my normal desk chair, or standing, it seemed to work just fine.
2. Battery life: It came with two extra batteries, so this may not be a big deal. But it looks like it's designed for you to learn to correct your posture pretty fast--each battery is only supposed to last 3 weeks, even with the attenuated wearing schedule. Being pessimistic, and having had this problem my entire life, I'll be surprised if I'm "fixed" in a matter of weeks. If I'm not, I may be needing to buy some more.
3. Advertising: Just like the poor model above with her imaginary belly pooch, there are a lot of claims along the lines of "trim your waist now," or "trim love handles and belly bulges naturally," "look younger and sexier." I suspect that this approach is probably effective; I just personally found the magic weight-loss emphasis a turn-off.
But these are little quibbles. Overall, I'm psyched to have found something that will help me learn to straighten up and fly right! And while I'm glad to have scored a freebie review model (hooray!), I'd actually pay for one of these things with my own money.
How Can You Win One?
1. Have a U.S. mailing address. Sorry, I always feel bad about this.
2. Leave a comment on this post about why you might want an iPosture for yourself or for a slouchy significant other before Tuesday night, Feb 24, 6pm East Coast Time /9pm Pacific. A Random Number Generator will pick a winner, which I'll post on the main Cranky Fitness page sometime Wednesday, Feb 25. Winner must send an email with your name and mailing address to Crabby McSlacker at Gmail dot com (you know how to put the address back together, right?) by midnight Saturday Feb 28 or another Random Drawing will be held.
Sorry again, non US folks! For anyone else who's a slouch like me: good luck!