If you work in front of a computer all day like I do, you know that it’s pretty impossible not to slouch. It just happens. That’s why I wanted to try one of the many wearables out there that promise to correct your posture, and make you happier in the process. I picked the Lumo Lift, a small posture-tracking device that’s been around for a couple of years and has received pretty good reviews. My experience with it can be summarized as this: it was a huge relief to turn the Lift off at the end of the day.
The Lift is worn against your skin right below your collarbone, and it’s clipped to your shirt with a square magnet (in silver or black). When you sit at your desk, you need to "align" the device to your preferred posture. You can easily do this by double pressing the Lift underneath your shirt, which vibrates three times to confirm. At that point, the "coaching session" starts. Every time you shift out of posture, or you slouch, the Lift vibrates. You can set the device to buzz after as little as 3 seconds of slouching or as long as 10 minutes. The company recommends a 2-minute delay, but I set mine at 15 seconds to check how often I was slouching. I realized I slouch often, very often. Don’t get me wrong, the Lumo Lift is fairly discreet and the vibration is gentle, but it did get on my nerves time and again. The reason is the way the Lift actually works.
After you calibrate the device, the gadget uses sensors to measure the "angle" of your good posture. Every time you "displace" that angle, the Lift vibrates. But I found posture to be a bit more complicated than that. I rarely sit in one position — or angle — for hours on end. Even though I sit in front of a laptop all day, I move around, fold my legs, lean to pick something from my backpack, get up to refill my water bottle, and go to the restroom. The Lift often considers this "slouching," so it vibrates, and vibrates, and vibrates. Every time you’re back to your desk, you have to recalibrate your preferred posture. That’s particularly key if, like me, you have a standing desk and juggle between sitting and standing. (Hint: When you stand, your posture is much better, at least according to the number of vibrations I got.)
The device connects via Bluetooth to an app for both iOS and Android that keeps track of your "good posture hours," allows you to set goals for the day, and rates your posture as "remarkable" if you’ve been good or "slouchy" if you’ve been bad. The Lift also has a pedometer, which threw me off a bit. If you’re trying to correct my posture while I’m sitting at my desk, why are you counting my steps? They’re obviously going to be low and I’m obviously going to feel bad. For this reason, I decided to wear the Lift outside the office, so I could prove to the device that I actually do a fair amount of walking in my free time. Big mistake: don’t wear the Lift at a bar if you want to look like a normal person. No one sits with a completely straight back on a bar stool. It’s better to just wear it at your desk during work hours.
The Lumo Lift has a battery life of up to 5 days. It comes with a USB charger and also a magnetic bra clasp that I found a bit weird to use. (The device kept moving out of position.) The Lift is small — 1.75 inches wide, 1 inch deep, and .5 inches thick — and goes pretty much unnoticed under your shirt. The vibrations are annoying and I don’t think I’d ever be willing to spend $79.99 for something I could do by myself — just sit straight. I have to say that, despite my love-hate relationship with the Lift, it did make me more aware of my posture. Sometimes, you just feel like slouching though. And there’s no need for a gadget to keep track of it, hour by hour.