A same-age friend and I walked down the street recently, we simultaneously noticed that we were hunched over just a tad in a way that might not look remarkable now but that suggested a more acute (and unpleasant) bowed attitude to come. Instantly, I saw myself as one of those doubled-over old ladies, painfully propelling my shopping cart home to a menagerie of stray cats. (And I don't like cats.) That vision got me standing at attention, but for days afterward I noticed that I have developed a propensity to slump. Though slumping is never a good thing, it is especially unhelpful if you want to avoid lower-back problems, which can have a trickle-down effect (and not a pretty one) on the hips, knees, and ankles, says John Giurini, DPM, associate professor in surgery at Harvard Medical School. 

So I was glad to find out about the iPosture, ($90; iPosture.com, left), a device the size of a large button you clip to your bra strap, wear on a short chain, or stick to your chest with a mild adhesive patch (this last one won't work so well if you tend to be heavily moisturized). The button, which was developed by a doctor, vibrates to alert you when you're slouching and promises a multitude of benefits, among them, trimming love handles and belly bulges, eliminating common back problems, and making you look younger and sexier. I wore the iPosture for three days and concluded that it was very helpful—and also increasingly annoying—to be constantly reminded to sit and stand up straight. (Kind of like being followed around by your mother; at least it doesn't also remind you to get the hair off your face.) I don't know if I looked younger and sexier, being too shy to ask, though I did feel taller and somehow more in command of my body. I had to stop wearing the device every day simply because it exhausted me; I was surprised to discover that it can be wretchedly tiring to be erect all the time if you're not used to it. But I put it on occasionally as a reminder that I want to make my way into old age slump- (and feline-) free.



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