We all probably got repeatedly nagged by our parents to stop slouching, and stand or sit up straight.
As annoying as we may have found their admonishments at the time, our parents actually were onto something. Poor posture is one of the leading causes for back, neck, and shoulder pain. Furthermore, our current, high-tech driven world only adds to our poor posture. Hours spent in front of the computer, sitting in traffic in the car, and even checking email or sending texts using a smart phone, result in pressure on the back, shoulders, and neck.
We tend to hunch our shoulders, slide our lower backs too far down in our chairs, and jut our heads too far forward while in front of our computers. When we are looking at our smart phones, we keep our heads bent too far down and also hunch our shoulders.
Fortunately, there are a number of great apps for that smart phone that will serve the same purpose as our parents – remind us to improve our posture. Here’s just a sampling of what is out there.
1. MacBreakZ (Mac OS X 10.4 or higher) – Free 14-day trial, purchase for $24.95
This Mac computer app has two different programs. One is for preventing future problems due to poor posture. It will show you how to do a series of simple stretches while sitting at your chair. These are meant to reduce muscle tension and improve your posture. It can also be programmed to send you a timer reminder for when to get up and move around. If you are already feeling the effects of poor posture, this app’s recovery mode is set up to give you breaks more often than in prevention mode.
2. Posture Man Pat (Mac only) – Free
This clever Mac computer app was designed by a sound engineer to track his own posture problems and turned out to be so popular that it’s now available for Mac users. This app uses the Y-axis of your web cam to monitor your head position. If you move your head out of the proper position, the app will warn you with either a sound or by dimming the screen, depending on how much discretion you want.
The app shows up on your computer screen in a small window, so as to be unobtrusive while you work. If you are looking for something to just give you a gentle reminder to check your posture, this app might be ideal.
3. Perfect Posture Workout (iOS only) – $0.99
This phone app is perfect as a handy, on the go reminder to maintain good posture. You start by standing against a wall and letting the app calibrate your posture while you keep your phone in your shirt pocket. The app will then guide you through a series of simple posture exercises for 15 minutes. If you begin to slouch, your phone will gently vibrate to let you know that you need to fix your posture. This app is particularly good if you want to track your improvement over time.
4. Lumo Back (free app for iOS and Android) – $149.95 for wearable tech
The price for the wearable tech may give you pause, but if you are serious about having perfect posture, the Lumo Back setup might be worth the investment. The wearable tech is a small monitor that comes attached to an elastic waistband. After the initial set up and calibration, the monitor will continuously send data to your device via Bluetooth to help you track your posture as you go through your daily activities.
The app has a stick figure avatar that is green if you have correct posture, but will turn yellow if your posture is not correct. Your Lumo Back monitor will also gently vibrate to encourage you to correct your posture until your avatar is once again green. While the Lumo Back system is not cheap, it is definitely the best way to train your muscle memory on how to hold proper posture. This could also be a great holiday gift for the athlete in your life!
5. Nekoze (Mac OSX 10.7 or later) – Free
If you are a cat lover or just love cute things in general, the Nekoze (Japanese for stooped or a rounded back like a frightened cat) posture monitoring app should help you improve your posture and make you smile at the same time. The app has a small cat cartoon that will appear on your computer screen and meow at you as a reminder to straighten up.
You can customize this app to be more or less sensitive, as well as to be mute (a great option if you work in a cubicle). It also has videos with good stretches to help you improve your muscle tone for better posture.
Even if your parents could not have imagined a world that could come up with the technology to create these apps, they certainly wouldn’t argue with their purpose of improving your posture. After all, your parents would also want you to stop slouching, wouldn’t they?