The simple act of sitting on the ground can help you live longer and stronger. Livestrong.com’s article entitled “Want to Age Well? Here’s the One Surprising Thing You Should Do Every Day” reports that 2014 research found that the ability to get up from the floor is a major predictor of longevity in people ages 51 to 80. The study showed that those who had the hardest time with the task were five to six times more likely to die during the researchers’ follow-up period than those who could sit and stand with ease. More recent research also supports this conclusion.
That is because how well you can move from standing to sitting and vice versa is a reflection of your overall health, fitness and function. However, you do not need to jettison the chair for every activity. Spending some time on the floor every day can benefit your health. Here are all the pluses of plopping down on the ground:
- Improved Balance, Stability and Coordination. The more you do this, the better your balance will be. It is especially important as you get older because it helps to reduce your risk for falls and resulting fractures.
- Greater Mobility. Going to a floor-seated position engages the muscles surrounding multiple joints and body parts such as your shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and feet. As a result, a daily practice of sitting on the floor can help improve your mobility. It can also help you stay injury- and pain-free as you age.
- Developing a Strong Core and Legs. Sitting on the floor can help you build a stronger core and legs. That is because your core must be engaged when pulling the body up from the ground. So getting up and sitting back down multiple times can lead to maximal core engagement.
- Healthier Posture. Sitting on the floor can help promote good posture because when you move from a standing position to seated (and back again) your joints must be aligned to maintain balance. Proper body alignment relates to how your head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles stack up with each other, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Floor sitting encourages you to sit more upright instead of hunching your back — another factor for healthy aging. A lot of us sit too often and in less-than-ideal chairs, which is not good for our posture.