How to Avoid Roadblocks

How to Avoid Roadblocks

Even when you set realistic, attainable resolutions for yourself, you’ll still face roadblocks along the way. Here’s how to face them head-on so that you can meet your goals!

Fall Forest Runner1) Be patient with yourself. No one is perfect and, as we said before, behavior change is tough! Know that change doesn’t happen overnight and don’t beat yourself up if you slip up occasionally.

2) Remember that one stumble doesn’t mean failure. While you should be patient and forgiving of yourself when you do slip up, bear in mind that a small slip up doesn’t mean that you’ve failed and should give up. If you’ve resolved to give up dessert on weekdays but have two bites of cake one night, that doesn’t mean that you should cave and eat a massive slice!

3) Think of the big picture. It is easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to your resolutions, so remember the peripheral positive impacts that your resolutions will have on your life. If you’re trying to lose 10 pounds, for example, think about the ways that eating healthier and exercising more are improving your long-term health.

4) Celebrate small victories along the way. You may have a big goal in mind, but reward yourself for the smaller milestones along the way. Just be sure that your celebrations don’t derail your progress. If your resolution is financial, for example, find a way to celebrate without blowing your new budget.

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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Why Is It So Hard to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Why Is It So Hard to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions?

iStock_000026307257_SmallAbout half of Americans will make New Year’s resolutions for 2014. You may be one of them, and even if you aren’t planning to make resolutions this year, you’re probably familiar with the routine: You get inspired by the fresh start of a new year and set lofty goals of all the ways that you’re going to change your life. This is the year that you’ll finally drop those extra 20 pounds, run a marathon, and get your budget in order. And most people start out strong, shunning chocolate cake and hitting the gym. However, within a few weeks, motivation often starts to wane and sticking to those resolutions becomes more difficult.

So why is it so hard to keep your New Year’s resolutions? First of all, we often try to make sudden, big changes to our lives. While the symbolism of the new year as a fresh start is a great idea, the reality is that very little is likely to change about your routines between December of one year and January of the next. Humans are creatures of habit, and when we are used to doing something the same way all the time, it’s difficult to suddenly shift and do something completely different.

Therefore, if you currently avoid exercise like the plague, it’s incredibly difficult to immediately throw yourself into a routine of hitting the gym five days a week, and even harder to stick with it. Think of it this way: you probably don’t have to put much thought into daily habits like taking a shower or brushing your teeth, right? Well, the same goes for less-virtuous habits. If you always visit the vending machine at work in the afternoon for a candy bar, that becomes second-nature and it’s hard to break the status quo.

We tend to expect behavior change to be instantaneous but it really takes time to change habits. When we aren’t able to stick to our resolutions perfectly right away, we often get frustrated or discouraged and decide to just throw in the towel. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! Check out these tips on how to set better New Year’s resolutions and avoid the roadblocks that you’ll face on the way to achieving your goals.

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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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How to Set Better New Year’s Resolutions

How to Set Better New Year’s Resolutions

iStock_000016378483MediumLooking to set better New Year’s resolutions so that you can stick with them? Follow these easy guidelines:

1. Be realistic: Think about whether the resolution is something that you really can fit into your life.

Ex: If you hate mornings and already struggle with your morning routine, maybe six a.m. is not the best time for you to vow to go running for an hour each morning. Aim to set goals that you can realistically envision fitting into your existing lifestyle.

2. Set concrete goals: Instead of saying, “I’m going to spend less money,” set an actual target, as well as a timeframe for accomplishing your goals.

Ex: Vow to save $1000 over the next 6 months for a summer vacation.

3. Track your progress: Knowing how you’re doing can be a powerful motivator, so be sure to keep tabs on your progress.

Ex: Using an activity monitor like Lumo Back can help you track your daily steps over time as you work toward your resolution to be more active.

 4. Hold yourself accountable: Many people find that a bit of extra accountability helps them stick to their resolutions. Consider making your resolutions public to your friends and family for support, or team up with a close friend you trust and hold each other accountable. Committing money to a resolution can also make you more likely to stick with it.

Ex: Shelling out money for 3 months of personal training could help motivate you to stick with your fitness resolution.

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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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.

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How to Choose the Best Bag For Your Back

 How to Choose the Best Bag For Your Back

For students, back-to-school season is a time for new school supplies, new books, and maybe a new backpack to stow all of these goodies. It probably comes as no surprise, however, that the heavy backpacks and bags that young people carry to school can have painful consequences to their back health and posture. Students are not the only people at risk, though. Many of us carry heavy purses and bags every day, toting everything from our laptops and files to our lunches and gym clothes. These heavy bags can be a real pain in the neck…and shoulder, and back!

But fear not! We’re here with tips to help you pick a better bag for school, work, or play.

Lighten Your Load

Lighten Your LoadThis is perhaps the most obvious tip, but start by being honest with yourself about what you really need to carry with you. Experts recommend carrying no more than 10 percent of your body weight, so a 160-pound individual should aim to carry less than 16 pounds.

This is one case when less is more: remember that things like laptops, tablets, power cords, books, and water bottles are heavy and can quickly add up. Think about what you really need for the day and carry just that.

Avoid bags that are heavy even when empty, such as large leather purses or bags with lots of heavy buckles.

Test Drive

Your bag is an important purchase, so do your due diligence. Trying on an empty bag won’t give you a good sense of how comfortable it will feel once you’ve stuffed it full and are schlepping it all over town.

Before you buy a new bag, test it out thoroughly by filling it with all of the things you plan to carry on a regular basis. If the straps dig into your shoulders, it lies uncomfortably or awkwardly against your body, or it leaves you lopsided and off-balance, it’s probably time to reconsider your selection.

pursePick a Perfect Purse

When selecting a purse, aim for a structured bag that holds your belongings securely in place and fits comfortably under your arm or falls at waist-level. Trendy oversized bags aren’t inherently bad, as long as you resist the temptation to overfill them, so be realistic with yourself. Avoid always carrying your purse on the same side of your body and try to get into the habit of alternating sides.

Master the Messenger

Like many purses, messenger bags can be problematic because they cause you to carry weight with one side of your body. This can throw you out of balance and strain your neck and one shoulder. To avoid this, look for a bag with a well-padded strap and remember to alternate sides so that you stay balanced.

Buy a Better Backpack

backpackIf you really need to carry more than 10 percent of your body weight, a good backpack is probably your best bet.

Look for a backpack with wider, padded straps and remember to always wear both straps so that the weight of your load is evenly distributed to both sides of your body. Tighten the shoulder straps so that your bag sits higher and rests firmly against your back. If your bag is especially heavy, consider a bag with a chest strap to help lift some of the weight off of your shoulders and ease back pain.

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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Revamp Your Workspace

Revamp Your Workspace

Whether you spend your days working or studying, you probably spend a lot of time at a desk. We know that sedentary desk work is not the best thing that we can do for our bodies, but it’s often unavoidable. When you’re stuck at your computer, treat your body well by using good posture and taking regular breaks to move around. Then, consider adopting one of these alternative desk setups to inject more activity into your busy workday!

Standing Desks

Standing Desk

Standing Desk

Research shows that prolonged sitting can lead to a bevy of medical issues, from obesity to heart disease, and a 2010 study by the American Cancer Society showed that women who sat for more than six hours a day were 37% more likely to die prematurely than women who sat for less than three hours. These results were 18% higher for men.

Stand up for yourself and your health with a standing desk! Standing at a tall desk keeps you more active than sitting all day, and burns more calories.

Standing can be hard work, so don’t be surprised if your body feels tired at first. Try easing into things by setting progressive goals for yourself. If you are sitting for 8 hours a day now, start by lowering your sit time by an hour or two per day and work down to 3 or 4 hours of seated time per day. Standing on a gel mat helps to reduce stress on your body, while a tall chair or stool is handy for times when you need a little sitting break. Just remember to stand tall, since standing posture is important too!

 

Kneeling Chair

Kneeling Chair

Kneeling Desks

Sitting in a normal chair all day makes your hip flexors short and tight, which can lead to back pain and other ailments. A padded kneeling chair helps to stretch and lengthen your hip flexors, counteracting the issues caused by normal chairs. It also reduces pressure on your lower back because your lower body supports a lot of your weight. A kneeling chair can also help to encourage you to sit taller, but, as always, remember to stay mindful of your posture and avoid slouching as the day wears on.

 

Treadmill Desk

Treadmill Desk

Treadmill Desk

Have you heard of this latest trend in the world of unconventional desk setups? These awesome desks have treadmills attached so that you can spend your day walking slowly – think 1.0 or 1.5 miles per hour – while you work. Once you get used to it, it’s far easier than you’d imagine to type and work while walking. You’ll torch major calories by walking all day, and staying lightly active throughout the day has major health benefits. We’ve also seen similar desks attached to stationary bikes. Unfortunately, these desks are pricey and take up lots of space, but they are worthwhile as they keep you moving!

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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