Does This “Shark Tank” Posture Brace Really Work?

Posture braces are ALL THE RAGE! “Posture brace” is a new buzz word… I’m sure you’ve seen the add on Facebook/ Instagram…

“Fix your posture by wearing this handy device!”

Wear this shirt and we guarantee amazing posture!”

In my opinion,  there is a little to no value in almost all  these new products. I just don’t believe that one external source, on its own,  can solve your “posture” problems. Posture is, and will always, be controlled by your joints and muscles. What is the best way to adjust your joint positions and muscle length and strength…. why exercise of course!

This email is NOT another diatribe on why you should be doing daily exercises at your desk and in your home to help combat your life of sitting/texting/driving (I do send a lot of those messages out into the universe). Today’s post is about a particular posture brace called Better Back

I saw this produce on Shark Tank year’s ago. I remember thinking to myself “ why didn’t I think of that!?” This particular brace is unique. It’s not the “place straps around your shoulders to pull your shoulders back” kind of posture brace. I’ve been approached plenty of times to review those kinds of braces and I’ve always said NO. I believe that your scapula muscles need to be trained to hold your shoulders back on their own. 

Better Back helps with sitting posture, and adjusts a very important body position that will translate up through the rest of your body,  making it easier for you to pull your shoulders back naturally.

Take a look at my review here so you can see what I’m talking about:

Comment below and tell me what you think! Do you believe that you would use this at work? Will this be a purchase you might make?

a few months ago

Kickstart Your WorkStation Posture with This Brilliant Solution

Every once in a while you stumble across something so brilliant you want to shout it from the rooftops!

This is the exact case for this posture product review of the new software Brightday (currently available through a Kickstarter Campaign only).

As a posture fitness specialist, I’m not a huge fan of posture braces. When a brace is holding your body in position, it trains the “brain” to sit in better posture, but the muscles are still being assisted by the brace. I’m a bigger fan of products that force you to find movement and proper alignment using your own body mechanics and musculature.  

For example, I reviewed a product a while ago called “Upright Go”, which is a device that sits on the upper spine, tracks alignment, and buzzes you when you fall out the position. You set “training” sessions throughout your day to practice sitting in “proper posture”, because wearing it all day long doesn’t make sense (if you bend over to pick up your bag you would be buzzed).

Now in theory, this product is brilliant, but in reality there are some downfalls. Do you know what happened to my upright go? I wore it home one day (accidentally) and took it off, and kept forgetting to charge it and take it back to my workstation. The “forgot to put it on and charge it” element of the posture device, leaves more than desired when it comes to ease and effort.

Now along comes Brightday, billed as posture software with no straps or gadgets. At first glance, my thought was “I don’t want to have to download something new that may or may not work”. But, when I realized it was compatible across many devices and platforms, and that I could program it to open at a particular time of day that worked for me, I was in.

The download to my HP laptop was easy. The set up took less than 5 minutes. Figuring out how to use it was a breeze.

With a posture wearable device, you are forced to reach around and awkwardly place it on your back to put it on, and then to press a button to “calibrate” it for your proper posture. Instead, Brightday software showed me a video of how to sit properly, asked me to find this position, and then recorded my position using the camera on my own laptop.

Much like the other wearable posture devices, I then set a “training” session for myself. I sat in the correct position and noticed that when I started to slouch, the indicator on my screen turned a different color. So, I immediately correct myself! By the end of my 10 minute training session I received a notification letting me know what percentage of the time I was in “proper posture”.

I’m not the posture coach who will tell you that you should be sitting in the same position all day long. In fact, I believe the exact opposite of this. I believe that movement is key and immobility is killing us (I actually just launched a coaching program that ensures movement and posture positive exercises at your workstation).

HOWEVER, I do believe in what Brightday offers because it is important to build the awareness around what is “good” posture. These muscles need training. The mind controls the body and the mind needs re”minding”.

This software is currently on Kickstarter, and I urge you to support this amazing endeavor. It’s bound to instantly provide value for you (especially since a year subscription only costs $49 for 1 user, with additional discounts for family and small office packages).

Brightday will “kickstart” you into better posture and without all that crazy posture pain, you are bound to have brighter days ahead!

8 months ago

Carpal Tunnel and Other Handy Issues

Carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s a scary phrase. When this nerve problem begins, it’s like a runaway train… hard to control and stop from wrecking everything around you.

Without your hands, it’s difficult to type and work. Drive and eat. Taking a bath and brushing your teeth even becomes difficult.

I haven’t personally had this disorder, but shortly after becoming a mom I did have tendonitis in my wrists as a result of suddenly picking up a baby all day long. I had to do physical therapy and the pain was excruciating. I don’t wish this on anyone!

Statistics from the NIH show that women are 3 times more likely to get carpal tunnel the men (the part of their wrist that compresses the medial nerve is smaller), and assembly workers are 3 times more likely to get carpal tunnel due to repetitive movement stress.

So how can I avoid it? Watch your repetitive movements and be sure you’re not overdoing it.

We also know that exercises and stretches can help, so getting a daily dose of these in will feel good, and be good for you.

Even if you’re not worried about carpal tunnel,   even normal typing and texting we do all day long should  be counterbalanced with targeting stretches and exercises.

I’ve put together 5 wrist stretches to do daily to help improve the function in the wrist joint. I asked my colleague Christian Valentin, a top notch personal trainer who’s passionate about proper form and alignment, to help demonstrate these exercises:

First, let’s stretch the wrist flexors. You can do this 2 ways. When working at my desk, I like to simply stand up and place my wrist on the desk and lean into this stretch. Christian is demonstrating it on the floor and the wall to give you multiple options. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

This next stretch also has a wrist flexor stretch but also an added component of a neck stretch, which addresses the impact  of the cervical spine on the arms and hands. This also gives the wrist medial nerve a good stretch. This can be done standing or sitting in a chair that doesn’t have arm handles. But sure that your head is pulled back into good posture (ear over the shoulder) before you begin this movement. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.

This next one is an amazing stretch for the thumb flexors. Make sure you do both hands and keep the arm still as you bend the wrist. Don’t pull too hard and hold each side for 30 seconds.

I love this next movement for the radial nerve. It feels best when done dynamically, which means moving slowly through the position 5 to 7 times (no static hold). Imagine you are holding an egg in front of you and then you plan to pass the egg to someone behind you. Yes, it’s an odd description, but it works.

Finally, this one is the hardest and most challenging to perform. Again it’s best done dynamically so move through the stretch 5 to 7 times versus holding still. This one gets the ulnar nerve so you will feel it in the pinky side of your hand.

If you’ve done these 5 movements, your wrists are warmed up and your nerves should all be moving better. These didn’t take long, so adding them into your daily routine should be an easy solution to your hand and wrist pain.

Please comment below, do you have wrist issues? If so, what has helped you resolve them?

Videos shot at Shredz Gym in Ladera Ranch; visit Christian on Instagram at @ChristianValentin7

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