Some ideas -- both high and low tech -- to help you sit up straighter and protect your health.
Every morning, I rely on my Amazon Alexa device to remind me about all the important things I need to do for myself to start my day, including taking my vitamins and saying my morning prayers. While I’m pretty good about the prayers on my own, the vitamins are easily tossed aside as I scramble to feed the baby or get another load of laundry in. Those daily reminders — from what sounds like a real person, no less — are much more effective and less likely to be ignored than a sticky note or our own brain power, with everything else going on.
Most recently, I’ve added another task to Alexa’s daily list of reminders for me, before I begin a day of shuffling between alternating between hoisting a 26 pound baby up and down about a hundred times a day, and hunching over my computer for work: “Remember to wear your Lumo Lift.” This You may have seen the ads recently on Facebook. This is just one in a long line of devices and braces circulating a recently that promise to help people stand and sit up straighter and avoid back strain. You slouch, it vibrates, as the slogan goes.
It’s safe to say that most people who are seeing the ads on their laptops or smartphones could probably benefit from that kind of device… especially women like me who are victims of “mom posture.” Recently, my bad posture has caused a spot in my upper back to begun tensing and spasming, so I was thrilled when my mom recently gave me the device as a gift.
The symptoms of mom posture are pretty intuitive: rounded shoulders from hours spent breastfeeding, carrying around heavy babies (who become even heavier toddlers), and bending over to do the day-to-day tasks of cleaning up after said babies (and also possibly after husbands, too). Coupled that with tired, often weakened and sometimes injured core muscles from pregnancy and giving birth — and more time on the computer than on the treadmill — and regaining good posture is as easily forgotten as your vitamin D.
But it’s just as important. Good posture is about more than looking slimmer, taller, and more confident, although it can certainly do all of those things. Good (or bad) posture has a real impact on our health, too. From posture’s effects on our muscles, our nerves, our blood vessels, and possibly even our mood, it’s an important part of our overall health that we too often overlook.
I’ve been wearing my posture device for a while now, and I must say, it is helping to train myself into becoming more mindful of my carriage. But, yet, another part of me is asking, at what point do we stop entrusting gadgets with our wellbeing and start reclaiming that job for ourselves? With all the heart rate monitors and fitness trackers now doing the work for us, are we becoming ever more disconnected with our intuitive nature to render us incapable of being in touch with our bodies and taking care of ourselves on the most basic levels?
Then there’s also the question of what the long-term effects of wearing these devices on our bodies, days in and days out, will be 20 years from now. While the effects have been downplayed in general, assuring these devices are safe, some doctors still caution against the extended exposure to radiofrequency energy the devices emit, especially for women who are pregnant.
This is why, in addition to wearing my posture device, I have also started incorporating core-strengthening and posture-improving moves (like from Blogilates) into my exercise routine, and why I am also considering seeing a chiropractor again to help get my spine into better alignment for good posture.
I know that there is a danger of becoming too dependent on our devices, but I believe that if we use them as part of healthy routines geared toward helping us to develop better habits, that eventually they will render themselves unnecessary. Maybe by the time I can remember to put my posture device on in the morning before I’m reminded to do it, I’ll no longer have a need for the device or the reminder – just don’t tell my Alexa that.