I ordered the Lumo Lift a couple of years ago after I first heard about it through a crowd-funding effort. I received my Lift a few weeks ago.
The Lumo Lift is a tiny device that attaches to your clothing and tracks posture and activity. Posture is important, not just for dancing but for all of life. I was curious how well the Lumo might work for any dance students who want to improve their posture, and I’ve been reasonably impressed.
Why posture matters
We’ve all been told while growing up that posture is important. Your mom probably told you to “Sit up straight” a million times. But do you know why posture matters? What kind of impact does it have on your body when your posture is less than perfect?
The average head weighs between 5 and 181lbs. My chiropractor told me that if the head is carried even one inch forward the spine has to handle 10lbs of additional pressure. Imagine doing that to your spine for hours every day, year after year as you move through life. The damage to your spine becomes astronomical over time.
It’s no wonder you see many old people walking with a curved back; this is the consequence of a lifetime of poor posture. Back pain results from the stress on the discs in your lower back. The joints at the top of your neck and upper back use a shared nerve pathway to the brain, and that is affected when this area is compressed.
For dancers, posture is vital. Good posture makes it easier to get maximum movement in your ribs and therefore plenty of air into your lungs. If you hunch, your breathing is restricted. This can put your system into fight-or-flight mode, making you feel on edge, stressed or anxious. Naturally, your posture also affects your visual appearance.
“There is a different posture for each person. We all have our own natural curves of the spine,” says Leigh Blashki of the Australian Institute of Yoga. “Posture isn’t just about the spine. It’s about the feet, knees, hips, shoulders and how we carry our head.”
How does the Lumo Lift work?
The Lumo Lift is a tiny device with a magnetic attachment that connects it to your clothing. It comes with a variety of clasps, from square ones in different colors that are clean and unobtrusive to fancy ones embedded with crystals that look like jewelry. It’s pretty stylish. There’s even a convenient clasp that women can use to attach it to their bra so it doesn’t show at all.
The Lift connects to your mobile device through Bluetooth, tracking your posture and your activity level. The app is free and has a pretty decent user interface. You can reset the “ideal” posture position by double tapping your Lift. When you do, it vibrates three times to let you know that the new position was set. You can put it into “coaching” mode by holding it for three seconds. It will vibrate to let you know that coaching mode is active. In coaching mode, it vibrates every time your posture goes a few degrees out of “perfect” alignment. You can set your coaching mode to operate for differing amounts of time.
Posture isn’t just about the spine. It’s about the feet, knees, hips, shoulders and how we carry our head. It affects us when we sit and when we move.
My posture is quite good most of the time, especially when I’m on the move, but I was shocked to find how bad it was when sitting. Since I spend a lot of time at my computer, it was an eye-opener to discover that my posture was seriously lacking. I have a high-end executive chair with lumbar support and thought I was sitting very well. Not so. In coaching mode, my Lift buzzes me constantly. I realize that I’m leaning forward, or sideways with an arm resting on my chair arm, or have resorted to some other lazy seated position. With the help of my Lumo Lift, I’ve been able to increase “good posture” hours from 1 or 2 hours per day to as many as 17 hours in a single 24-hour period. My chiropractor is impressed.
The Lumo Lift software and firmware is regularly updated. The latest update even includes an alert setting that’s halfway between no alerts and sometimes annoying coaching mode. It will alert you when your posture has not been great for a set period of time.
Lumo Lift for dancers
The Lumo Lift is great for normal posture tracking. One of the common problems of new or social dancers is to move forward with the upper body instead of the center, affecting posture. I wondered if the Lift would help dancers deal with this and tried it on a couple of students while they were dancing. Unfortunately it isn’t perfect in this situation because you are constantly moving. Since the bad posture might only take place for a few seconds at a time, the Lift often has little opportunity to buzz with the alert notice because it needs a couple seconds in that alignment before it sends the signal. Still, unless you are dancing at a high level where your movement is extreme, the Lift should serve well to let you know when you’re leaning forward (or backward) in your upper body alignment.
The activity tracker built into the Lumo Lift is useful, but doesn’t come close to the accuracy of something like a Fitbit or Up band. I think the reason is that it’s attached to a part of your body that moves very little when you’re dancing. I keep a Fitbit in my pocket, where it can measure my dance steps. Even a smooth Slow Foxtrot will generally measure accurately. In contrast, dancing a Slow Foxtrot properly will hardly register any movement in your upper chest area where the Lumo Lift is attached. As a result, the number of steps recorded is considerably lower than you’ll get with one of the other devices.
For posture management, especially if you work at a job where you are sitting a lot of the day, and for new or social dancers who want to improve their dance posture, the Lumo Lift is a great tool. It gets two spines up from me.Learn more