Home Mind + Body Guide to Better Posture with Apps, Wearables & Devices

Guide to Better Posture with Apps, Wearables & Devices

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Paying attention to posture at work or while relaxing isn’t easy.  It doesn’t matter what kind of work you do; you can spend all day slouched in a chair at a computer desk and suffer the same back problems that waitresses or physical labor workers have. It’s all too easy to forget about our bodies and become disconnected from what our bodies need as we go through each day and meet the demands of our jobs.

Even if you're not working, if you're using a smartphone, your head's downward posture can lead to “text-neck” (or anterior head syndrome). Text-neck occurs because tilting the head down to read a screen usually flexes the head by about 15 degrees which places an additional force on the neck of about 27 pounds! Further flexing of the neck can lead to the force increasing to 60 pounds. Orthopedic injuries that are commonly being seen in the population related to smartphone usage are in the same category as repetitive strain injuries or occupational overuse syndromes [1]. In my research, I came across a posture wearable that can help you recognize when you're tilting your head too far; stretching and body awareness can also minimize the effects of smartphone usage.

There are some great ways we can correct our posture and help ourselves look after our bodies with posture correctors.  There are two basic groups of posture correctors:  mechanical/physical correctors and technological apps and devices which remind you to correct your posture.  Essentially, all correctors can give you a good starting base and bring awareness to how you hold your body when you get caught up working, but there are some downsides to certain kinds of posture support. 

Below, we look at some of the best posture devices/correctors on the market for those who simply want to improve posture or those who have back pain (including some of the more interesting braces with deep sea magnets), followed by the best technological apps and wearables (both under and over clothes) for better posture.

Technological Posture Devices and Apps

The difference between mechanical/physical posture correctors and technological posture devices is that technological devices will require you to correct your posture.  Most of these will require some skin-to-skin contact and are best worn under clothes, but I found an inventive posture device that goes over clothes and one that rests on your neck like backwards headphones.  Using some of these ingenious technological devices is like having a personal assistant to remind you each time you’re slouching—which can provide a depersonalized solution if you’re prone to becoming annoyed when your others tell you to sit up straight!

These posture devices can reduce the risk of dependency that braces and physical posture correctors can cause.  The idea behind technological posture devices is that you will train your muscles over time because the device will vibrate when your posture is slipping.  Most of these devices can sync up to your smartphone and give you some interesting metrics to look over and help you understand how much of your day is spent in a harmful posture.  You can also see your progress and challenge yourself to do better each day.

Physical/Mechanical Posture Correctors

The physical correctors are braces which physically move your body into the correct position.  These can range from correctors that look like back belts or weight belts all the way to small straps that resemble a backpack without the backpack.  For women, some physical correctors are being included in bras and sports bras.  Most physical posture correctors can be worn both under and over clothing.

Although these physical correctors seem like an easy way to achieve your goal of perfect posture, the rules for using these are similar to using any other type of brace.  If you use a brace all the time, you run the risk of weakening your muscles.  This is the phenomenon behind why doctors seldom recommend a cervical neck brace after whiplash from a car accident, for example, and instead save them for severe injuries.  The consensus is that if the braces do all the work, you actually will weaken your muscles over time.  If you’ve ever taken a wrist or ankle brace off after wearing it for a day, you can attest to this; it’s also the reason why you’ll need physical therapy to regain grip strength and range of motion after wearing a wrist brace or cast.

You can find braces that offer varying levels of support.  Some are minimally reinforced so that you have just enough correction to remind yourself to hold yourself upright, and some are much more rigid.

The Best Posture Devices

Physical/Mechanical Posture Correctors:

For Minimal Support:

The Marakym Posture Corrector is a lightweight brace that resembles straps from a backpack.  It will provide a gentle support when your shoulders begin to round forward.  Made of breathable neoprene and completely adjustable, it will keep your posture in check and will start to get uncomfortable if you slouch.  The remedy?  It will be comfortable once again when you correct your posture, making it one of the best ways to train your muscles with a little bit of guidance.

The Selbite Posture Corrector provides a lot of bang for its buck.  It is a similar strap style that provides a gentle correction with padded straps for comfort.

For Medium Support:

The Evoke Pro Back Posture Corrector is slightly different in its design, but it still follows a traditional strap style brace.  It has a wider area of fabric between the shoulder blades which evens out the pressure and gives a higher level of posture correction.  Many people enjoy the form-fitting, low-profile straps which lay close against the body, and doesn’t lay very close to the neck.  This would make a great posture corrector for people who don’t like straps near their necks.

The SKYWEE Adjustable Upper Back Corrector Brace and Posture Trainer is going to give you a firmer support because it is made with a piece of hard plastic and metal which lays in the space between the shoulder blades.  It’s more adjustable than other lightweight braces, but it’s definitely a little more bulky.

For Firm Support:

The Flipcase Adjustable Magnetic Back Straightener uses the weight of magnets aligned in specific places along the brace.  It fits more like a vest in the back and includes a lumbar belt.  The magnets are reported to help with back pain, and while you may not believe in magnetotherapy, the magnets feel soothing and add a little extra weight to the brace which some people say feels massaging.

The FlexGaurd Support Back Brace Posture Corrector is one of the best braces for anyone who has back pain.  The vest-style brace includes a lumbar belt which combines the best parts of a posture corrector and back brace that provides a lot of relief by supporting the upper, middle, and lower back.

Technological Posture Correctors and Devices

The Upright GO Original and Upright GO 2 are the most popular and beloved posture devices.  Both of them are small devices, smaller than a computer mouse, which stick to the skin between the shoulders.  The Upright GO series sends a vibration every time you slouch, and it comes with the app which helps you track and monitor your progress.  Some people find the adhesive backing isn’t sticky enough or wears out, while others don’t seem to complain much about the adhesive.  If you do find that the adhesive is wearing out, Upright also sells adhesive backing strips (and some people find that you can use double-sided sticky tape as well).

The biggest advantage to using the Upright GO Original & Upright GO 2 is the lack of straps, and  it helps your muscles do the work instead of relying on braces.

The Sense-U Clip3 is an electronic posture device that clips to your clothing in the front of your clothes.  It sends a vibration each time your posture starts to slouch and, like other popular posture devices, it connects to your smartphone for tracking.

The biggest advantage to using the Sense-U Clip3 is that you don’t have to use any adhesives.

Meet the ALEX Plus Smart Wearable Posture Tracker and Trainer—it’s not your average posture corrector device and might just be the answer to all our technological smartphone challenges!

This device looks like sunglass straps that fit over your ears and the device lies on the center of the back of your neck.  Like the other electronic posture devices, it delivers a vibration when you slouch your neck.  It’s perfect for those who are having cervical neck pain because of smartphone use, a.k.a. “Text-neck.”  This also syncs up to smartphones for tracking.

Staying in charge of our posture has never been easier with so many solutions available.  You can also improve your posture through strength training, exercises like yoga and pilates, and good old-fashioned willpower—but I guarantee you’ll be more likely to remember to sit up straight while using these accessories.

References

  1. Text Neck.” Physiopedia, https://www.physio-pedia.com/Text_Neck.

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