While we all know how important it is to stay active and get regular exercise, one thing that is often overlooked is the health benefits of sitting on the floor.
How many hours do you spend each day on the sofa watching television? What about sitting on your office chair at the computer – or even just sitting at your kitchen table?
As we will explore in this article, swapping your comfy chair for the floor might just be one of the best things you ever do for your health…
Are You Sitting Comfortably?
According to research, the average English adult spends between 9.5 and 11 hours per day doing “sedentary” activities. This includes things like sitting down to watch TV, playing computer games, working at your desk, or even just sitting in the car.
We do these activities while lounging on a comfortable chair. But while we might feel comfortable, the truth is that our furnishings can actually be pretty bad for our health.
Here are five great health benefits of sitting on the floor…
1. Improved Posture
Good posture is important because it helps to prevent injuries and means that less stress is placed on your joints and muscles.
Over time, poor posture can lead to many health problems, including back pain, shoulder ache and stiffness in the neck. It can also impact on your digestive organs and lead to a higher chance of developing cardiovascular problems.
Sitting on the floor helps to improve your posture naturally by making you sit more upright, with your spine straight and your shoulders pushed back in the correct position for good posture.
2. Improved Strength and Flexibility
Lounging on a sofa is very bad for the body and over time can result in weak muscles, aching joints, stiffness and other serious issues that can greatly affect your everyday life.
One of the biggest health benefits of sitting on the floor is improved strength and increased flexibility. It allows you to strengthen your lower back and works those core muscles that are so essential to strength, while also helping your flexibility.
3. Easier Digestion
This one is often overlooked – but eating while sitting on the floor can actually help to aid your digestion. When you sit down with your legs crossed (known in asana as sukhasana or a half padmasna), it sends a signal to your brain that tells it to prepare for digestion.
Sitting in this position while eating requires you to move your body back and forth as you swallow. This works your abdominal muscles, aiding the secretion of stomach acids that are needed for proper digestion.
4. Reduced Aches and Pains
Many of us suffer from aches and pains brought on by the stresses and strains of day-to-day activities. Backache, shoulder pain, neck stiffness, etc. can have a significant negative impact on your ability to live your life.
If you want to reduce some of those annoying pains and enjoy greater strength and flexibility, it might be worth swapping the chair for the floor. Sitting on the floor is a great way to strengthen the muscles in your lower back, pelvis and abdomen. It also the strength and flexibility of your legs, knees and hips.
In turn, sitting on the floor can help to reduce many common aches, pains and discomforts.
5. A Longer Lifespan
We’ve covered some of the main health benefits of sitting on the floor – and the good news is that it could even help you to live longer!
In 2012, research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that being able to raise yourself from the floor without holding on to anything correlates with increased life expectancy.
Getting up from the floor without using your hands requires a combination of strength, flexibility and balance. All of these things are needed to avoid falls and injuries. Those unable to do so were found to be 6.5 times more likely to pass away in the next six years.
So – there you have it. Sitting on the floor can help you to be stronger, healthier and ultimately live a longer life. It’s great for your body and is the perfect way to relax and de-stress after a long, hard day.
Consider getting a floor cushion to make the transition to floor sitting an easier one.
Take the time to sit on the floor for a portion of your activities for the day. Your body will thank you for it.
Learn More About Body Mechanics!
Want to learn more about how body mechanics can improve your health and change your life? Check out the exact program that I use to improve my health through everyday activities.
Visit Healthy Moving for more information.