2015 Posture Challenge!

0205-30daychallenge
We invite you to make a commitment to better posture and workplace health. We have partnered with Facebook’s workplace health guru, Daniel Lord, to bring you four weeks of posture and activity tasks geared towards improving the following:

What is Good Posture?

Two of the questions we get most often here at Lumo Bodytech are, “What is good posture?” and “How do I get into good posture?” You know we love talking about posture around here, so we’re happy to share our expert advice.

First and foremost, we believe that your best posture is your next posture – that is, the best thing you can do for your body is to be active and avoid sitting or standing in one position for too long.

However, we know that there are times that staying in a static position is unavoidable. When you’re stuck sitting or standing still, maintaining upright posture with a straight, stacked spine helps you look and feel your best.

Stand Up For Better Health

Stand Up For Better Health

Here at Lumo BodyTech, we are big believers that one of the best things you can do for your health and for your posture is to get up and get moving. Numerous studies show that Americans spend way too much time sitting, and spending long hours in a sedentary position has various other negative effects on your health and makes you likely to slump into poor posture. We like standing desks and treadmill work stations because they get you out of your chair and make you more apt to stay in motion throughout the day. However, as standing and treadmill desks have become more prevalent in offices across the country, they’ve been met with some backlash. Here, our friends at WorkWhileWalking.com respond to these criticisms and show you why it might be time for you to consider reconfiguring your workspace. 

workwhilewalkinglogoIt’s a good thing when fads are questioned.  Give some thought to any 2013 pop phenomenon, and you’ll probably agree.  Scepticism is even more important in the workplace.  Jump on the bandwagon out of the office, and you may find yourself going home with today’s equivalent of the Furby.  Do it in the office, and you could be endangering more than your dignity.

So it’s not necessarily a bad thing that we’ve been seeing some backlash against standing and treadmill desks.  There’s no denying that standing and treadmill workstations have been enjoying a boom in American workplaces of late, and some people have begun to question whether or not they hold water as an office health hack.  Case in point: ABC News recently released a two page article entitled “Stand Up for Better Health? Maybe Not”.  The second we saw this one, we knew we had to respond.  We appreciate the question they’re asking…but we’re not so sure we agree with the answer.

ABC News did find one heck of an expert. Dr. Marc Hamilton, PhD, one of the pioneers of sitting disease research, was quoted throughout the article.  We’re not calling Hamilton’s credibility into question – he’s responsible for an incredible amount of the information we use on this site; however, we would like to respond to his position on adjustable height and treadmill desks.  Hamilton, and ABC News, stated that there wasn’t enough reliable scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these workstations.

And that’s our bone to pick – it’s presumptuous to claim to that there’s no evidence to show that treadmill or standing desks do any good.  ABC News did give a chance for a couple of industry figures (from UpDesk and TreadDesk) to respond, but neither produced scientific sources, something that the article was quick to point out.  Well, we’re here to fill in the gaps.  WorkWhileWalking has dug up a few of the many sources supporting the use of alternate workstations:

– One of the most convincing articles we’ve seen on the benefits of walking desks was this landmark 2007 study from James Levine and Jennifer Miller.  Levine and Miller found that using a treadmill desk at low speeds (1.1mph) burned far more calories than equivalent time at a desk.  They went on to conclude that, if properly used, treadmill desks could be an effective weight-loss solution.
– A recent German study found that use of an active workstation could increase activity levels and heart rate for sedentary workers.
– A one-year prospective study found that treadmill desks increased workplace activity levels, reduced sedentary time, and encouraged mild weight loss, all without negatively impacting workplace performance levels.

We could go on, but even those three are certainly more than “no evidence”.  Anyone interested in literally reading the book on scientific support for treadmill workstations should consider picking up a copy of James Levine’s Move a Little, Lose a Lot.  As for standing desks, well…

– A 2012 study found that using standing workstations resulted in a considerable increase in calorie burn rate.
– An evaluation of the implementation of sit-stand desks in an Australian workplace found that not only did standing desks reduce sedentary time, they also had a high rate of usability and acceptability in an office setting.
– An extremely recent study by the BBC and a team of researchers from the University of Chester found that standing burns considerably more calories than sitting, and also reduces post-meal blood sugar levels.

There will always be room for doubt, but we believe that, at least as of now, scientific evidence strongly suggests that standing and walking desks bring a long list of benefits to sedentary workers.  And if you’re still not convinced, you may only have to wait for researchers to catch up with the soaring popularity of these workstations.

Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift

Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.

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Your Best Posture is Your Next Posture

Your Best Posture is Your Next Posture

Upright posture is the most functional when you need to sit.

Upright posture is the most functional when you need to sit.

One of the questions that we get asked all the time is “What is good posture?” Our technical answer is that when you are in a static sitting or standing position, we advocate maintaining a neutral pelvic position with a straight, stacked spine. We feature easy tutorials for achieving good posture on our website and explained our medical rationale for favoring neutral pelvis posture in a recent blog post.

However, our more nuanced answer about the ideal posture is that “your best posture is your next posture.”  In other words, the healthiest thing that you can do for your posture is to move as much as possible and avoid maintaining any static posture for an extended period of time. We know that many of us have jobs that do require us to spend time working at desks, so knowing how to sit and stand with good posture is certainly important and beneficial to one’s health and well-being. That said, the human body was built to move, not spend 8 hours at a computer.

Running office

Make sure your workday isn’t just sedentary!

So get moving! Walking around helps your body to reset itself into healthy posture, so make a point to get up from your desk at least twice an hour. Maintaining a regular exercise routine is a great way to improve your overall health, but it won’t make up for hours of being sedentary, so try to stay as active as possible throughout the day. We love walking meetings as a way to exchange ideas while getting a breath of fresh air and stretching our legs. Standing work stations are also a great way to encourage you to stay active!

Find activities that make you love moving, and try new activities that challenge your body to move in new and different ways. Whatever moves you, remember that every step is a step toward better health!

Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift

Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.

SHOP NOW

 

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Guest Expert Post: How Posture Affects Mood

Guest Expert Post: How Posture Affects Mood

– And How Improving It Can Be Used to Treat Depression and Anxiety Disorders

This week, we’re hearing from Steve Farmer, a LUMOback neighbor and our first guest expert. a Stanford Ph.D. and former Harvard University Research Fellow, is a comparative cultural historian whose academic research focuses on the interaction between brain and culture in the evolution of premodern human traditions. As his “hobby,” he is also owner and Director of Avalon Yoga in Palo Alto, California, the home of one of the only university-level Yoga Teacher Training Programs in the world. 

The idea that improving posture offers a simple way to treat back pain is confirmed in a long line of medical studies. A search of the National Library of Medicine (PubMed) database of the words “posture” and “back pain” turns up over two thousand articles written since the early 1950s that deal with this issue. Recent papers suggest that use of a postural biofeedback device – the same general type as the LUMOback sensor ­­– can improve back pain in as little as a single session. For one recent paper, go here.

 

Far less obvious is the fact that fixing posture can also help with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. The relevant literature here goes all the way back to Darwin’s On the Expression of Emotion in Men and Animals (1871) and William James’ Principles of Psychology (1890), which developed the first full theory that linked posture with emotions.

 

Many who have practiced yoga, pilates, dance or similar disciplines for long periods can attest from experience to the potent links between posture and emotion. But how can those links be explained in biological and evolutionary terms? And how can they be exploited therapeutically?

 

A famous article published by Price and his collaborators in 1994, cited in more than 500 later articles, expanded on Darwin’s ideas by tying those shifts to the ways in which conflicts are typically resolved in social animals.  In nearly all social animals, as Darwin first  suggested, during conflict social status is typically signaled by exaggerated changes in postural state (see the pictures of dogs below from Darwin’s 1871 masterpiece). Animals at the top of a social hierarchy in times of conflict typically communicate their status with exaggerated upright postures, while subordinates signal their positions in opposing ways.

 

SteveFarmerDog1 SteveFarmerDog2

Dogs assuming typical aggressive/dominant and subordinate postural positions, which Darwin argued present reverse musculoskeletal mirrors of one another.

Normally this ritualistic behavior prevents costly intraspecies conflict, which is avoided unless subordinates intend to challenge the positions of the dominant animals in the hierarchy.

 

In the 1990s, an elegant series of animal studies, the best known associated with Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University, showed that these types of social conflicts are linked to major hormonal changes, suggesting one of the biological mechanisms underlying the links between postural changes and emotions. While there are many complexities in these relationships, as Sapolsky suggests in a recent paper, there is no doubt that the ancient evolutionary links between posture and emotion are preserved in modern human behavior.

 

An already classic study published by a group at Harvard and Columbia in 2010 (“Power Posing”) demonstrated for the first time that levels of two neurohormones associated reciprocally with social status as well as confidence or anxiety – testosterone and cortisol – can be forced to change in minutes simply by shifting the postural state of subjects into exaggerated “open” (dominant) or “closed” (subordinate) positions.

 

The therapeutic implications of these findings are strongly emphasized by one of the study’s authors, Amy Cuddy of Harvard, in a Ted Talk suggestively entitled “How Your Body Language Defines Who You Are.” Cuddy argues for actively manipulating posture to reap the emotional advantages of the ancient evolutionary links between posture and human neurohormones.

 

One of the ironies in this is familiar to those of us who study the medical implications of cultural change:  Due to the vast cultural changes that accompanied the shift from hunting and gathering societies to agricultural to massive industrial societies, many of the causes of modern mood disorders may have little to do with social status but simply with maladaptive postural changes associated with modern work conditions (see cartoon below).

 

Is assuming a correct upright posture an effective Rx for anxiety and depression? That’s what evolutionary theory and recent biological research suggest. The result is that manipulating postures provides an effective tool in treating mood disorders without the need for drug or even talk therapy.[1]

 

One implication of this is that biofeedback devices like LUMOback have applications that go far beyond simply treating back pain.


[1]Part of posture involves the control of balance, and in the light of the new research on posture and emotion it is no surprise to find that an immense literature links balance problems with general anxiety disorder (GAD). Recent studies by Orit Bart and her colleagues at the University of Tel Aviv have, in fact, recently shown that treating balance disorders on their own also serves as an effective behavior treatment of GAD.

 

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the view of LUMO BodyTech Inc.

Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift

Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.

SHOP NOW

 

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Good Golf Posture – Why Does It Matter and How Do I Get it?

Get Good Golf Posture, Improve Your Game!

Catherina Wang Professional Golfer and LUMOback Intern

Catherina Wang
Professional Golfer and LUMOback Intern

In any sport, it is important to use correct form and technique to improve your performance and prevent injuries. While good active posture allows for quick and efficient movements, poor posture leads to more injuries because your body has to compensate for your improper form by using the wrong muscles, leading to stress and strain.

As a professional golfer, I know a thing or two about injuries and injury prevention! If you don’t have good golf posture and technique, you train the wrong muscles and put yourself at risk for injury. Proper golf posture makes a world of difference, not only preventing injury but also allowing you to hit the ball further and straighter, which we all know is every golfer’s dream!

In the video clip below, I’ll give away some of my secrets for success: you’ll learn why good golf posture matters and how to get into perfect golf posture. Check out the drill at the end of the video for a great way to remind yourself to keep up that great, strong posture. You’ll be hitting the ball higher and further than ever before in no time!

 

Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift

Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.

SHOP NOW

 

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Is Your Tablet Hurting Your Health?

Is Your Tablet Hurting Your Health?

Many of us use smartphones and tablets in an attempt to increase our productivity on the go. A recent survey from Experian shows that Americans spend an average of about an hour per day on their smartphones, with the majority of that time spent emailing, texting, and browsing. However, research shows that using mobile devices like smartphones and tablets can have various negative effects on our health.

Slouching over your phone can cause back and neck pain, and make you more timid.

Slouching over your phone can cause back and neck pain, and make you more timid.

When using tablets and phones, we often assume a slouched or hunched posture, as shown in the photo to the left. Our necks jut forward and down as we strain to read from a small screen, and our shoulders often tilt forward as well. All of these postures are ergonomic nightmares and can lead to neck and back pain.

Furthermore, a study from Harvard Business School shows that the hunched postures associated with working on these smaller devices actually make us less assertive than we are when we work at bigger devices, such as desktop computers. The postures we assume when working at a large desktop monitor boost testosterone levels, making us more apt to act assertively and take initiative.

Therefore, switching from your 13-inch laptop to a large desktop monitor could make you a bolder contributor at your workplace. And, while it may seem productive to send emails from your smartphone while waiting for a big meeting or interview, keeping your phone tucked away in your pocket may have positive implications for your confidence, assertiveness, and performance.

Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift

Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.

SHOP NOW

 

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Strike a Pose

Strike a Pose

We all know that people who have strong, open posture seem confident. The trick of it is, just by assuming better posture and a more upright stance, people can actually become more confident. Recent studies have shown that posture has a profound affect on confidence levels—and that you can influence this just by learning to sit and stand in a new way.

"Power Posing" can help you feel more confident.

  “Power Posing” can help you feel more confident.

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has found that assuming “power poses” – strong and confident postures – both raises testosterone and lowers cortisol levels in the brain. Elevated testosterone levels make you more assertive and more likely to take risks, while cortisol levels rise as you become more stressed. The combined effects of these two hormones boost your confidence and have been shown to improve performance in stressful situations, such as job interviews.

By holding yourself in an expansive power pose, you’ll also seem more open and attractive to other people. Another study indicates that recovering alcoholics who slouch are more likely to relapse than those who have good posture. Striking an expansive pose has also been shown to increase your pain tolerance, and can even make you behave more assertively. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that we at LUMOback are so dedicated to helping people improve their posture!

Reaping all of these amazing benefits for yourself is easy –simply spend two minutes standing in an expansive pose, such as putting your hands over your head, stretching out at your desk, or standing with your hands confidently on your hips. The hormonal changes associated with power posing should last for at least 15-20 minutes, but can lead to a confidence boost that lasts all day.

When standing with your hands over your head for a few minutes isn’t appropriate, standing tall and stretching expansively for a short period of time can give you a confidence boost. And remember, sitting straight and standing tall will always help you present yourself in a better light, while also fending off back pain and allowing you to breathe better for overall health and wellness.

To learn more about Amy Cuddy’s amazing research, watch her TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift

Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.

SHOP NOW

 

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Why is Posture Important?

Why is Posture Important?

As you may have guessed, we’re pretty passionate about posture here at LUMOback. You may wonder, however, “Why is posture important?”  So what’s the big fuss, anyway? Why does posture matter?

Posture Matters Because:

Businessman With Backache - Isolated1)    You’ll experience less back pain: As much as our modern world of plush couches and armchairs seems to promote comfort, much of our furniture and technology actually promotes poor, slouchy posture. It’s no surprise, then, that more than 80% of American adults suffer from back pain. Scrunching your body into a slouched position is hard on your whole body, so good posture is a key part of alleviating back pain, along with neck, knee, and hip pain. As you push your head forward, your neck, back, and hips become misaligned in an effort to support the weight of your head.

Fiona Maguire2)    You’ll seem and feel more confident: It probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that holding yourself with good, strong posture projects an air of confidence. However, the confidence perks of good posture are internal as well as external. People around you will perceive you as more confident, but you will also feel more assertive and confident. Standing with strong, powerful posture, even if you don’t feel confident, can boost testosterone and cortisol levels and have a marked impact on your internal confidence. You may even behave more assertively because of your strong posture!

Image source: http://www.lucilleroberts.com/blog/http:/www.lucilleroberts.com/blog/breathing-for-better-well-being/

Image source: http://www.lucilleroberts.com/blog/http:/www.lucilleroberts.com/blog/breathing-for-better-well-being/

 

3)    You’ll breathe better: Sitting and standing with good posture keeps your airways open so that you can breathe easily and deeply. Deep breathing helps to calm your nervous system so that you’ll feel less stressed and anxious, which can in turn lead to improved moods and more restful sleep.

Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift

Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.

SHOP NOW

 

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How to Improve Your Posture While You Sleep

How did you sleep last night? Did you wake up feeling rested and refreshed, or sore and uncomfortable? Many of us don’t spend much time thinking about our posture when sleeping, but it turns out that our sleep position can greatly affect our daytime wellness, especially when it comes to neck and back pain. Your sleep posture can strain your back and lead to all kinds of bothersome aches and pains when you wake up. Read on to learn how your favorite sleep position might be harmful and how you can make simple changes to avoid back pain.

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