If you like cats and nagging, then have I got an app for you. Since most of my days are spent in an office chair, improving my posture has been a constant struggle for me so I recently installed Nekoze on my work computer and it was enlightening. Here's what happened.
First things first, nekoze is a Japanese word meaning someone with a rounded back (you know, like a cat). The app's been out for over a year but, early adapter that I am, I just got around to giving it a go after I recently got a glimpse of a photo of myself sitting at my desk looking like a gnarled troll.
The app is free and once you install, it sits on your menu bar like a sweet little kitty with a very stern eye. You sit up nice and straight and calibrate your posture with your computer's camera. In the age of internet spying, having my computer's camera constantly lit was a little unnerving, but I eventually got used to it.
Once you've set a baseline for your "good" posture, when you start to slouch, Nekoze flashes a warning on your screen in the form of a cute cat face and audible meow. Since I want to keep my coworkers from murdering me, I quickly deactivated the sound and found that the visual cue was plenty to alert me of my bad behavior.
Nekoze actually has a variety of cat faces, from a calm beige smiling Nekoze to black cat Nekoze with demonic yellow eyes. At first I thought the faces had different meanings (as in, neutral happy kitty might mean, "Hey, you're getting a little out of line, try your best!" whereas evil black kitty might mean, "You are a worthless sloucher and a failure of a human being.") but the longer I used it the more I'm convinced the variation is just random.
It's pretty sensitive. For example, I got a scolding from Nekoze just for dropping my head to pick up a pen. But, interestingly, if I kept my body straight but leaned back in my chair, Nekoze seemed to understand and leave me alone. I had to disable Nekoze while I was eating lunch because dropping my head to take bites make her freak out and it was driving me crazy.
You can also adjust the settings to make Nekoze a little less of a task master, which I did. It might just be my horrible posture, but I was getting warnings so often it was distracting me from my work. I suppose the idea is that you will train your body to sit properly without actively thinking about it (here's hoping!) and your core muscles will improve. Can't wait for that day because right now after just over six hours with Nekoze, I feel like that damn cat's been clawing at my abs all day. In other words: sore. I guess my core could use some work.
So will I keep it up? Sure. I'll probably cheat (a lot) but I do think it's an easy and low maintenance way to keep posture in the front of my mind.
Want to try it? Download Nekoze and come tell us about it.