The distance runner human body on holiday
More than ten years ago, researchers found that humans may have left their tree-swinging ancestors behind because they developed into endurance runners. This ability, the researchers say, may explain why humans look the way they do today. We have long legs, broader shoulders, narrower waists and shorter forearms – all the latter counterbalancing the lower body while running. Yet, what would our ancestors see today?
We are sitting the whole day in front of our computers or on the couch in front of our flat screen TV and push buttons to order pizza. The World Health Organization estimates that 95 percent of the world’s adult population is inactive, failing to meet minimum recommendations for health of 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity five times a week. You could say that cavemen had to be distance runners to compete with other predators to get some food, while we are so technologically developed that we only have to lift a finger and dinner is ready. It might be so, but do you think it is satisfactory for your distance runner body to be constantly on holiday?
“Text neck” on the rise
Sitting too much is associated with a significantly higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and depression, as well as muscle and joint problems. Some have gone on to say that the office chair is worse for your health than smoking and kills more people than HIV. And we haven’t even considered what your phone is doing to your spine and your posture!
The latest phenomenon that might cause you serious health consequences beyond sitting at meetings for long hours in the office is connected to the “text neck”. It means you bow down to your phone to send e-mails, read messages or news pieces, on the street, in your car, at home, basically wherever and whenever you have a spare second.
Researchers found that smartphone users spend an average of two to four hours per day hunched over, reading e-mails, sending texts or checking social media sites. That’s 700 to 1,400 hours per year people are putting stress on their spines. And high-schoolers might be the worst. They could conceivably spend an additional 5,000 hours in this position. And while doing so, you put plenty of weight on your spine. Researchers say even as much as if you would let an 8-year-old sit around your neck for several hours a day. It might cause early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration and even surgery. That doesn’t sound very cheerful, does it?
Still, you don’t want your grandma to tell you every five minutes “why are you not sitting up properly, my dear?” or put some books on your head as a disciplining force as was usual in the early 20th century. Fortunately, digital health comes to your aid. The Lumo Lift aims to help you with your posture while Lumo Run motivates you to get up from that way too comfortable chair of yours and utilize your endurance runner body.
You slouch, it vibrates
This is the motto of the Lumo Lift, which captures the essence of the tiny gadget perfectly. Although it might invoke associations about being punished for not sitting straight, I would advise you to let those strange thoughts go. The roots of those are only associated with posture having such a long history as a means of disciplining the human body. This device only gives you a neutral signal when slouching and it is up to you what you make of it. At first, I was also reluctant to try the Lumo Lift as I thought that it will constantly buzz me and it will drive me crazy, but then it turned out it was less annoying than I expected. Moreover, I was satisfied when I kept my posture, had a better mood and felt more confident.
The company references a study for supporting their thesis that an upright posture in the face of stress can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture. Furthermore, sitting upright increases the rate of speech and reduces self-focus. Although I could not measure the rate of my speech what is already pretty fast, I found the findings of the study accurate in my case.
Button-sized posture coach
After you order your Lumo Lift for $80, you receive a nicely designed package with the sensor itself, the USB charging dock and two, simple and classy magnetic clasps – one in black and the other one in aluminum -, so you can use whichever matches your outfit best. It is very easy to set up the little gadget. At first, you download the app – it is available for both Android and iOS -, then you follow the instructions on the app itself.
Needless to say, the sensor communicates via Bluetooth wirelessly with your phone. The little posture coach has to be pinned to the inner side of your shirt with the magnetic clasp below your collarbone to be in contact with your skin. It is a very user-friendly solution. Then you sit up or stand up straight and you press Lumo Lift only once to set your target posture. When I pressed it, it vibrated three times. It is worth doing this when you change your posture (for example when you stand up). Then if you slouch for 15 seconds – or for another time interval you set for yourself – it vibrates.
Although it may sound very intrusive, it was way less annoying than I thought before testing it. What I found surprising is that I had to be a bit more concerned with what kind of shirt or T-shirt am I wearing because the device does not work with loose shirts.
The Lumo Lift also tracks your activity – gives you the obligatory step count, burnt calories and the distance covered. It also tracks your daily posture activity and gives you an overview later. It also has a satisfactory battery life with 1-2 days on a single charge, but it could certainly be improved.
Run your body with Lumo
Beyond Lumo Lift, I also tested the Lumo Run fitness tracker aiming to optimize running performance. Although the fitness sensor and wearable market is very saturated, the tracker has its unique selling points. For example, it is able to give a comprehensive overview about your running style measuring certain aspects of your move that other wearables leave out of their perspective. Beyond the obligatory step count, it records bounce (vertical oscillation), braking, pelvic rotation and pelvic drop!
It is very easy to use: you clip the small and sleek gadget on the back of your running shorts paying attention to the fact that it should be aligned with your spine. Then you put on your running shoes, and off you go into the wild. You do not need to bring your phone with you, the sensor will still record your performance.
However, if you run with your precious phone, the Lumo Lift will give you its greatest feature, the audio feedback, and provides GPS data. After you covered the wished distance, the tracker offers you a thorough analysis of your running performance and recommends exercises personalized for you. The data-analysis is detailed and very insightful, as a data-geek, I was truly fond of it. In my view, the biggest downside of Lumo Run is that it only works with iOS, but I hope the company will soon release the Android version as well.
Lumo should unify the powers of Lift and Run
Looking at the Lumo Lift, I believe that in the future, it might be the best friend of office inhabitants and people staring at cat videos on social media for too many hours. Basically everyone’s. It has the ability to literally save lives – not immediately and spectacularly, but in 30 years time.
The Lumo Run found its niche well with providing complex run performance analytics, and it executes its function nicely. The two sensors do their jobs perfectly – but this is exactly their problem. That they do not combine their strengths, they operate separately. If the two joined forces, I would buy it at once – I would even consider changing my beloved Fitbit Blaze.