In countries all over the world, you can find people performing an action that, at first glance, may appear strange. When they eat, watch TV, play games, hang out with family members—or do anything that requires them to sit—they sit down on the floor.
While most of us have accepted sofas, chairs, stools and beds as being far more comfortable, the truth is, lounging on these only recently invented furnishings is nothing less than bad for your health.
Here are 5 reasons sitting on the floor is good for your health:
1. It naturally improves your posture
Good posture is incredibly important for health, as it not only helps prevent injuries, it also reduces the chances of placing needless strain on certain muscles and joints, which can lead to unnecessary wear and tear as well as structural problems. Unfortunately, most of us in the West have poor posture and weak lower backs, very much a product of slumping onto couches and chairs and hunching over desks and computers for the majority of our lives.
Sitting on the floor, on the other hand, requires your spine to be straight, and your shoulders to be pushed back and relaxed, which naturally corrects poor posture.
2. Our bodies weren’t made to sit in chairs
Chairs are, in the grand history of human evolution, a very recent invention, the use of which only became widespread in the past 200 years or so. In many places in the world chairs are still not common, and the ease at which people in these locations can sit and squat on the floor makes it clear that our bodies have been taking up these positions for a long time. You can connect with how human bodies evolved to sit by settling in on the floor.
3. It improves your strength and flexibility
Sitting in chairs for so many hours per day for all these years has done harmful and unnatural things to our bodies. It’s left us with weak, tight and sore lower backs, weak abdominal muscles, and stiff, inflexible, aching hips—to name only a few. On the other hand, sitting in a cross-legged position on the floor strengthens the lower back and core muscles, which are what allow us to stand upright without slouching, as well as pick up heavy objects without hurting ourselves.
Sitting in this way will also, over time, increase hip flexibility, which can reduce lower back and knee pain, and make everything from walking to dancing easier and more enjoyable.
4. It’s correlated with a longer lifespan
The ability to stand up from a seated position on the floor without using your hands has been correlated with a longer life expectancy. This test, which you can try yourself at home, is thought to measure the balance, strength and flexibility needed to avoid common accidents, injuries and falls. The test is much harder than it sounds, and requires you to be strong and flexible enough to be able to sit on the floor fairly comfortably first.
5. It’s humbling
If the previously mentioned physically beneficial reasons aren’t enough to get you to slide off your chair and onto the floor, consider this: sitting on the floor can give you a brand new, humble and grateful perspective on others, the world and yourself. There is a reason monks meditate on the floor and not in chairs. When you’re down there at the same level as children and animals, it is simply easier to connect with the spiritual side of life.
-The Alternative Daily