Sitting like our ancestors leads to long life!
The single greatest predictor of whether you'll still be alive at 60 is your ability to easily get up and down from the floor at 50! So, odds are you want to be able to transition from sit to stand like a pro when you're half way to 100...right?
Of course you do, so how do we go about that?
I’m a big fan of integrating all health related changes into the every day – rather than conjuring up some sort of sit-stand-sixty workout to add to the gym repertoire every week.
I’m also a big fan of subtracting things that are getting in the way instead of adding unnecessary extras – life easily fills up with those when we’re not watching, in any case.
In this instance, what we’re ditching is… the chair!
The chair? What the heck else am I meant to sit on?
The answer to the very common question above is, essentially, nothing. The very best sitting equipment is you! Your own body is very well equipped to support you in the age old context of the floor and the force of gravity.
But that’s going to be uncomfortable?
It might be, at first, but this is largely due to the fact that we’ve trained ourselves to expect plush cushions, bucket seats and motorised recliners. All of these have led to some rather pronounced muscle weakness, tightness and imbalances. 8 or more hours a day in one position is a recipe for stiffness!
If, at first, taking to the floor is uncomfortable you can easily support yourself using yoga bolsters, cushions or even a rolled up towel.
I started my transition using a 30cm yoga cushion, then a 15cm cushion and finally just a padded mat to save my bony joints on our hard wooden floors. And I started out with some crazy tight hips (if I sat cross-legged, my knees were probably not far off a foot from the floor).
You can move every few minutes when your body starts to give you some feedback in the forms of mild aches or discomfort. Rotate through 5 or six variations of crossed legged, side sitting, squatting, kneeling, half kneeling – whatever takes your fancy. Feel free to go back to your chair every so often but work to wean yourself fully on to the floor at the pace that suits you.
For extra credit, practice getting up and down from the floor without using your hands or knees.
You’ll find, over time, that you become more mobile, flexible, strong, ache free and the biggest win of all, you’re more likely to see your grandchildren grow up!
Floor Sitting in Action
Our friend using a traditional floor sit (ancestral resting pose) and doubling it up as a baby bouncer. Great for Mum's joints, great for soothing baby and all the while its a fantastic bonding opportunity. Health for the whole family through ditching the chair... who would have thought?