Have you ever considered using a posture reminder app to keep your spine in line during the day?
We all know proper posture is important to overall health and well-being, but it can be difficult to break a poor posture habit and focus on keeping our backs straight and heads up, especially when we're all burying our faces in our devices. Fortunately, in this age of prevalent technology, our computers and phones now offer apps and programs that can remind us to check our posture and even monitor our body position. Read on to discover the pluses and minuses of some posture reminder apps and programs available today and determine what best fits your needs for a posture check prompt.
Aim for Correct Posture
First, let's quickly review the basics of proper posture. Symmetry is vital to posture; you need equal weight distribution on both sides of your body to avoid strain. Feet should always be flat on the floor and knees in line with your hips. When sitting, knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle - use a footrest if needed to achieve the correct angle.
Keep your head, neck and spine aligned and work with the natural curves of your spine. Your shoulders should be relaxed - and if you're not sure whether they are, use the motion of "rolling back" the shoulders to bring your shoulder blades slightly closer together.
Never bend the neck. Whether working or playing, bring your phone, screen, papers or anything else up to eye level.
Comparing Posture Reminder Apps
Let's review a few popular posture reminder apps and programs available for a variety of devices and how they can help you put together the above-mentioned pieces that make up proper posture.
Pros: Great for desk workers, this program teaches you stretches you can do in your chair that reduce muscle tension and improve posture. You can set a timer to remind you to get up and move around at certain intervals. Additionally, MacBreakZ offers standard prevention mode as well as a recovery mode that prompts more frequent breaks if you already have problems related to previous poor posture.
Cons: It will cost you a bit - $24.95 after a free 14-day trial. Also, it's only available on Mac computers.
Posture Man Pat
Pros: This innovative program uses the Y-axis of your computer webcam to monitor your head position. It will alert you by sound or screen dimming if your head moves out of alignment -the program is visually small and subtle on your screen. Best of all, it's free!
Con: Like the previous program, it's only available on Mac computers.
Perfect Posture Workout
Pros: This iPhone app is only $0.99 and quite customizable. Start by standing against a wall with your phone in your pocket, and the app calibrates your posture then guides you through exercises accordingly. It also vibrates to alert you if you slouch and tracks your posture progress over time. Since it's a phone app, it's helpful during any number of daily activities.
Con: Sorry, Android users - this app is for iOS only.
Pros: This app is for those who want constant and super-accurate monitoring via a wearable technology system. (It's available on both iOS and Android.) Once you set up a small monitor, worn on an elastic waistband, it continuously sends data to your phone via Bluetooth. An easy-to-understand stick figure avatar turns green when it senses good posture and yellow if you need improvement.
Con: While the app itself is free, the wearable tech option isn't cheap - it's an investment at $149.95.
Pros: This free computer program is also fun. Nekoze is the Japanese word for stooped, as in the shape of a scared cat's rounded back - so a cartoon cat meows on your screen to remind you to straighten it out. (It can also be set to silent if you're in a quiet office.) You can additionally customize its sensitivity and watch videos of muscle stretches designed to improve posture.
Con: This cute cat will only meow on Mac computers.
In some cases your device or operating system will guide you toward the available posture reminder app or program that's right for you - as will your budget. From there, evaluate your habits to determine app attributes that will be most helpful. Do you get caught up in your work and need reminders at pre-set intervals to stretch and relax? Or would constant monitoring be more apt to keep you aligned? Maybe you're a visual learner who prefers to take advantage of teaching videos.
With so many options to choose from (and likely more to come), odds are high that you'll find a posture reminder app or program that suits your needs. Take advantage of technology to keep your spine in line!