I prefer being close to the ground, opting to sit or lie down instead of using furniture. Watching the Netflix series “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones” opened my eyes to the idea that this connection to the ground may be linked to longevity and better health. The Blue Zones are regions of the world with the highest number of people over 100 years old, attracting attention for their healthy lifestyles.

While Blue Zones are associated with habits like plant-based diets and socializing over meals, the practice of sitting on the floor is often overlooked. In Okinawa, Japan, a Blue Zone, residents routinely sit on the floor. Longevity expert Dan Buettner, known for popularizing the Blue Zones, noted that the homes of 90 and 100-year-old Okinawans had minimal furniture, simply a low table and a tatami mat. Sitting on the floor is a tradition for activities like eating, reading, relaxing, and socializing. Even centenarians in Okinawa would sit and stand up from the floor numerous times a day. This lifestyle, along with antioxidant-rich foods and strong community bonds, is believed to contribute to their extended lifespans. It all sounds remarkably simple yet effective, prompting further investigation.

In this article
1 How does sitting on the ground contribute to good health?
2 Tips to embrace sitting on the ground

How does sitting on the ground contribute to good health?

Regularly getting up and down from the floor is not only a common practice among centenarians in Buettner’s research but has also been linked to longevity in other studies. A 2014 study introduced the sitting-rising test (SRT) to gauge musculoskeletal fitness and its connection to survival. This test scores individuals from 0 to 5 based on their ability to sit and rise from the floor without assistance and instability. The study, involving over 2,000 individuals aged 51 to 80, found that SRT scores were a significant predictor of longevity.

Buettner equates getting up and down from the floor to performing 30 squats throughout the day. Squats do more than build buttock muscle; they enhance bone density, strengthen the lower body, reduce knee and ankle injuries, boost flexibility, and help maintain muscle mass, crucial after age 60 when muscle loss accelerates.

Regularly practicing getting up and down from the floor can improve strength, flexibility, and mobility, key components of overall health. Buettner also notes that this habit helps prevent falls, a major risk for individuals over 65 according to the CDC. Mastering the art of sitting and standing reduces the odds of falling and fosters independence by maintaining essential mobility skills.

Tips to embrace sitting on the ground

In all Blue Zones, residents lead active lives, incorporating exercise into daily routines. Sitting on the floor complements this lifestyle. Consider how your environment could encourage this practice. Read on for tips on adopting the habit of sitting on the ground.

Work from the floor

Instead of a standing desk, try working from a floor desk. By setting up your workspace on the floor, you naturally integrate squats into your routine as you move around throughout the day. Place your laptop on a coffee table or lap desk and add a pillow for comfort.

Set up spaces in your home that make sitting on the floor more comfortable

If you don’t work from home, create areas in your home that promote relaxation and connection. Design spaces that invite you to sit on the floor, whether for socializing or solo activities like reading. Use cushions, pillows, and rugs to create a cozy atmosphere.

Wear comfortable clothing

Opt for comfortable clothing that allows you to sit on the floor easily. Loose, flexible attire not only makes floor sitting more accessible but also encourages movement and active living throughout the day.

Build your strength and mobility to make floor sitting easier

Enhance your strength and mobility to embrace floor sitting. Focus on exercises that target your knees, hips, and toes to improve your ability to sit comfortably on the floor. Petra Fisher, a movement coach, offers insights and demonstrations to help you build the necessary strength and mobility.

Try different sitting positions

If you find sitting on the floor challenging, experiment with various positions. Use blankets or cushions for support and shift positions frequently to enhance blood flow and comfort. Explore different seated postures to make floor sitting more enjoyable and beneficial.


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