While there are hundreds of fitness trackers that focuses on the period when you’re active, wearable tech that focuses on on those periods when you’re inactive, such as prolonged sitting, are far and few. Off the top of my head, 3 comes to mind; Lumo Lift, Upright Posture Trainer ($129.95) and Poze.
If you’re office bound, chances are you spend the bulk of your day seated while you hammer away at your keyboard. It doesn’t help that ergonomics usually doesn’t rank high on most people’s list unless there’s some discomfort involved.
Upright is an interesting smart wearable that tracks posture and reminds the user to sit upright through a series of vibrations. Recently I had the opportunity to review the Upright posture trainer and here’s what I have to say.
The Upright posture trainer was offered to GadFit at a discount in return for an objective review.
UPRIGHT POSTURE TRAINER IN SHORT
- Reminds user through vibration when the user deviates from “set” posture
- Responsive; vibrates almost instantly when user slouches
- Usable on both upper and lower back
- Connected to mobile device via Bluetooth
- Up to 10 days usage on a single charge
- Fast support
- Comes with way more adhesive and alcohol pads than required
- Individualised training plan
- Helpful FAQ section
Mobile app does not show frequency of “poor”postures(Mobile app now displays frequency of poor posture after training
- Can be cumbersome to wear at work
- Occasionally vibrates non-stop mid way through training and requires re-calibration
- Cost the most compared to its competitors
LOOK AND FEEL
The Upright posture trainer is a wearable that’s attached on the skin surface with adhesive patches. The entire package contains 60 adhesive patches, enough for 2-3 rounds of training depending on what programme you’ve been prescribed. The company has also included a handful of alcohol pads.The Upright posture trainer can be used on both the upper and lower back depending on which area the wearer wishes to work on.It’s very important to ensure that the Posture trainer is snugly attached to the adhesive patches before pasting it on your body. The better the you wear it, the more responsive the device will be.I usually press the adhesive patches unto the Upright device and run my fingers up and down the patch to ensure a tight velcro catch.The Upright posture trainer connects magnetically to the provided charging dock which is powered by a micro USB cable. A single charge powers the device for about 10 days and I’ve only needed to charge it twice throughout the course of my program. The company has a superb library of articles, short videos and FAQs on their website and mobile app on how and where to place the Upright device.
During the course of the review, I sent a list of queries to Upright only to have my question attended and answered within 4 hours. I’m unsure if this is the norm but it sure is impressive.
FUNCTIONS AND DATA PRESENTATION
Upon installing and signing up on the mobile app, the user will be provided an individualised program ranging from 15-28 days which is determined by individual’s height, weight, age, BMI.In my case, I was given 18 sessions starting with a simple 5 minutes which eventually progressed to an hour. The wearer can only train once per day so I couldn’t do all 18 sessions within a single week. The first 3 sessions were really easy and eased the wearer for the eventual hour long sessions.
The rationale behind this is simply that a person needs time to build up the core muscles to maintain the upright posture and more importantly, form the habit of sitting upright. The Upright posture trainer’s sole function is to remind the user, via vibration buzzes, when the wearer deviates from the pre-set upright posture. The vibrations comes on almost instantly and there’s no lag.
The Upright device will capture the user’s upright and slouch posture as part of the calibration process before every training. The mobile app must remain open in the background during training but the user can still use other apps.At the end of each session, I could continue wearing the device and receive feedback on my posture even though that doesn’t modify nor count towards future sessions.
I personally thought the Upright posture trainer worked splendidly if the user calibrated the device accurately. This is because the device would recognise the wearer’s upright posture and only buzzes if it deviates from that posture. In my opinion, the user must really understand what constitutes poor posture for him or her and what needs to be worked on instead of following the slouching example as shown in the mobile app.
Take me for example, I have no issues sitting upright but the problem I have is that I tend to lean forward and round my upper back or some would call forward head posture. So I used the Upright device on my upper back instead.
Did it work? I would like to think so. After only the third session, I was acutely aware of the way I sit. I don’t recall ever being so particular about sitting upright. Previously, I was only bothered when I felt muscles soreness; that was my reminder for sitting upright.
If you’re wondering if the Upright can cure chronic back problems, do bear in mind that it’s not a medical device. After using it, I see it more as a device that inculcates good posture habits primarily through the buzzes and in the process builds up the core endurance to maintain that habit.There were just a few occasions when the Upright trainer just ceased working properly. For example, it would stop detecting the correct posture or buzz incessantly even thought I’m in the correct posture. A re-calibration usually solves this.
So how long does it take to form good sitting posture habits? Upright follows the 21 days guideline which was first written by Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s back in 1960 when the plastic surgeon noticed his patients taking about 21 days to get used to their new look; it’s not a rule per se but an observation. Recent scientific investigation has put that number anywhere between 18 and 254 days; depending on the task, circumstances and the individual. With the average duration to form a habit listed at 66 days.
So it really boils down to the individual.
According to representatives from Upright, Stanford University, Texas University and San Francisco University are currently in the midst of conducting their research and the final results will be shared publicly in the next 3 – 5 months. I’m looking forward to the results.
UPRIGHT IN A NUTSHELL
In theory, the Upright posture trainer works by operant conditioning. The user is gently buzzed every time he or she is off the ideal upright posture. So to avoid being buzzed, the user tries to maintain the so -called upright posture. In doing so, the user trains up the core muscles to stay upright.
I’ve finished my 18-session training program and found myself much more aware of my posture whenever I’m sitting. Whether that translates into better posture after I stop using the device remains the question to be answered. But I know I can whip out the Upright posture trainer when I require more training; I still have about 40 adhesive patches to go.
*Update 9th January: After about a month of not using the Upright Posture Trainer, I found myself returning to my less than ideal sitting posture with forward head tilt. I’ve also received reminders from the Upright Posture Trainer app to continue my training. Like all good habits, proper sitting posture needs to be maintained and up kept. I guess there’s use for the remaining 40 adhesives after all.
The effects of sitting for extending duration have been linked to health concerns such as obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure and high blood sugar and more.
Due to the nature of my job, I’ve had the luxury of staying pretty active and clock well over 20k steps on a daily basis. Yet I’ve seen friends of mine who literally stay rooted to their chairs for hours at a go The only periods when they get up? Lunch, toilet breaks or to head to another meeting. Doesn’t sound really healthy does it.Besides using wearables such as the Upright posture trainer, include walks every 45 minutes, factor in stretching exercises if it helps, and correct your sitting posture. Sitting for extended periods is difficult to avoid as the bulk of work these days revolve around the computer but you can take steps to mitigate the detrimental effects.
You can purchase the Upright Posture Trainer at $129.95 from Amazon where there’s usually a small discount, great return policy, and free delivery depending on where you reside. In return your purchase helps to offset the costs associated with the running of this site. Thanks for reading!