Apps that keep you fit (and on your toes)

Need a little nudge to get to the gym? Or to stop slouching and sit up straight? Technology, it seems, has the answers.

At the recent DEMO conference for emerging technology in California, a startup company called Poosh unveiled its new free app designed to get you off the couch with what it's calling "in your face" motivational texts.

Reported in tech magazine PC World on September 16, Poosh uses SMS to send you push notifications and workout reminders from elite athletes, as well as tips on making smarter nutritional choices. You can choose between several categories geared for weight loss, general health, marathon training, and a category dubbed In Your Face. Think "Get off your lazy butt and do 5 pushups right now!!" according to the product's demo. Users can customize the content based on gender as well.

Jaime Komer, who won a silver medal for the USA Women's National Water Polo team at the Beijing Olympics, is in charge of the app content, which she hopes will motivate and empower Poosh users, according to the company website.

Poosh users can sign up to receive as many as three free messages per day, but they'll also get one health-targeted advertising message along with that.

Meanwhile, also at the DEMO conference, a startup company flaunted its novel new Bluetooth app for better posture.

The LumoBack is a patch that communicates with a smartphone app and vibrates when the wearer stands, sits, or walks with poor posture. Reported in American tech magazine PC World on September 16, the device is about two inches long and resembles a flexible, adhesive bandage powered by a small lithium-ion battery.

The app displays your posture in the form of a stick figure based on data from the patch and can score your posture over time, letting you set goals and keep track of your success.

Physician Dr. Charles Wang helped develop the concept after the company was chosen by the Innovation Endeavors fund to spend six months finding a creative business idea. The goal: to save the billions of dollars in medical costs in the US due to back pain and back-related injuries, because according to the company, minor adjustments in posture can make a big impact on your health and well-being.

While release date and pricing of the LumoBack are not yet available, the company says it aims to keep the price consumer-friendly.

Meanwhile, other apps designed for better posture include Upright for iPhone and iPod Touch. To use, download the app and put your iPhone in your front shirt pocket or wear it around your neck. Tap the "start" button on the application and the program evaluates your posture as long as you leave it running. If you start to slouch, the system vibrates or produces a sound to alert you to sit up straight.

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