Do you have a favorite armchair or sofa? A cozy place to while away lazy Sunday afternoons with a juicy book, a cup of tea, and a pile of cookies. You’re not alone!
But imagine if, instead, the floor became your new best friend – offering you not only comfort but also a subtle yet powerful way to stay fit and agile as you age.
Have you ever marveled at how effortlessly children play on the ground? As we grow older, we tend to lose that natural flexibility, often without realizing it. This is where ‘floor sitting’ comes into play.
Picture yourself getting down on the floor to play with your grandchildren, working in your garden, or sitting on a picnic rug enjoying lunch outdoors. All of this is doable, and what’s more, you can keep your furniture!
Get ready to redefine aging and feel like a kid again!
Doctors have made it clear in recent years that sitting is the new smoking. Japan is well-known for its tradition of sitting and sleeping on the floor. Floor sitting is also common in Korean and Middle Eastern cultures.
However, it took a new online trend for those of us in the West to finally come around to the idea. With over 20 million views on TikTok, #floortime is gaining traction as a way to improve flexibility, posture, and overall health.
As the name suggests, floor sitting refers to the practice of sitting down on the floor. I discovered the benefits of hanging out at ground level after watching an interview with Tony Riddle, a natural lifestyle coach.
I persuaded my wife that we should give living without furniture a try, and we haven’t looked back. We still have a table and chairs for working but eating, sleeping, and relaxing all take place at floor level now.
Don’t worry! There’s no need to be that extreme to enjoy the advantages that floor sitting offers. Unless your home is especially cluttered, you’re bound to have access to plenty of floor space to give it a try.
If you’ve decided to give floor sitting a try, The Joint Chiropractic has some excellent advice on how to go about it as well as which positions are safest when you’re just starting out.
In general, these are some of the things to keep in mind if it’s been a while since you sat on anything other than your sofa. For starters, your body will need some time to adjust so be patient with yourself.
Start slow, maybe with 10 to 15 minutes of floor sitting each day, and gradually increase the duration as your body gets used to it. You shouldn’t be in pain, but expect a level of discomfort. It’s the floor, after all, not a La-Z-Boy.
Make sure you support your back by leaning against a wall. As you get stronger, you’ll find you’re able to sit on the ground unsupported for longer periods. One very important consideration is ensuring you’re able to safely get down and back up again.
Sit near something sturdy that you can use to pull yourself up with, like the arm of your couch for example. If you’re unsure, it’s always advisable to check in with your health practitioner before making floor sitting a regular thing.
That being said, don’t underestimate what you’re capable of either. Doctors mean well but very often they’ll err too far on the side of caution and suggest you don’t do something because they fear you might injure yourself.
Practice caution, by all means, but also listen to your body and trust in your ability to adapt and grow stronger. I love sharing the story of Arthur Boorman, a disabled veteran, to drive this point home. If he can do it, there’s hope for us too!
As someone who’s always been fit and strong, I assumed I’d always be that way. Shortly after turning 50, I realized that maintaining my strength and fitness was suddenly a lot harder than it used to be.
My confidence took a knock, but then I decided to up the ante on my health protocols. Ditching our furniture and generally making life at home a lot more uncomfortable (at least by modern-day standards) has proved hugely beneficial.
The process of getting down and then back up from the floor naturally improves your strength and flexibility. In the beginning, I needed assistance getting up, but now I’m able to propel myself to standing using only my legs.
Sitting on the floor requires engagement of your core muscles, which can lead to improved posture and reduced back pain. I’ve definitely noticed improvements in both of these areas. My lower back is strong and there’s nothing slouchy about the way I walk or sit.
Floor sitting can increase mobility in your hip, knee, and ankle joints, which can lead to less pain and improved joint health over time. My knees are still creaky (they were both operated on), but overall, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my joints.
While floor sitting provides numerous physical benefits for older folks, it also has the potential to boost self-confidence. This has certainly been the case for me. The simple act of getting up off the floor, unassisted, has made me feel so good about myself.
I suspect for men, since they have to grapple with the whole alpha male ideology on top of aging, this could be particularly appealing. (Because while self-confidence shouldn’t have an age limit, it very often feels like it does.)
Sitting on the floor naturally puts you at the same level as children, creating space for some good old-fashioned play. I don’t have kids or grandkids, but I can imagine that this would be a great reason to engage in floor sitting.
All of these benefits are great, but for me, the main reason for keeping my body fit, strong, and healthy is so that I can age in place without having to modify our home.
I’m well aware that life happens, but I want to do everything in my power to get around on my own steam for as long as possible. Even if it means sitting on the floor!
What do you think about spending more time on the floor as a way to grow stronger as you age? Will you be giving it a try? Have you already tried it? What does your doctor say about floor sitting? Let us know in the comments!
Tags Healthy Aging