Many of us love to spend most of the day time sitting on sofas or chairs. But some people prefer sitting on the floor instead. This is often their part of daily lifestyle. Say, for example, in some cultures, it is the custom to sit on the floor and take their food. Others like to sit on the floor because of its purported benefits. Yes, you read it right!
Sitting on the floor has got some benefits. However, there are also some precautions of sitting on the floor that you need to know. So, without wasting time simply read below to know about some of the benefits and precautions of sitting on the floor.
Benefits of Sitting on the Floor:
As per research, it is found that the average English adult spends somewhere between 9.5 hours to 11 hours per day doing “sedentary” activities.(1) This might include things like sitting and playing computer games, working at the desk, watching TV, or even sitting in the car.
We love to sit on chairs or sofas most of the time because we feel them comfortable to sit. However, the truth is that sitting on the floor could be much beneficial than sitting on chairs and sofas. Moreover, sitting on chairs has removed the requirement of using certain muscles, the muscles which we developed, and relied on as babies.
However, sitting on the floor was our reality. That’s how we were when we were a child. Nowadays. When we sit on the floor at times, our muscles start to ache quickly. This is because we no more practice sitting on the floor.
But again, we can try and go back to our sitting roots and sit on the floor just like we used to do as babies or children. Let us now talk about some of the benefits of sitting on the floor.
It Helps In Improving Posture:
Sitting might help you automatically fix your posture. Studies have claimed that sitting with your legs crossed on a chair could induce a greater load on your intervertebral discs and the spine, especially when in a slumped position, as it can further increase the pressure on your disc and aggravate chronic lower back pain.(2) This is the reason you should sit in the correct posture.
When you sit on the floor you keep your spine straigtened and this straightening of your spine and pushing your shoulders back helps in strengthening the surrounding muscles and thus helps you become more comfortable with a proper posture.
It Helps For Easier Digestion:
There is another benefit of sitting on the floor. You can get the benefit of healthier digestion if you sit on the floor while eating. When we sit down on the floor with our legs crossed, a signal is sent to our brain that tells it to prepare for digestion.
Sitting in this posture while you are eating requires you to move the body back and forth as you swallow the food. This, in turn, works your abdominal muscles and thus helps in the secretion of stomach acids, which are required for proper digestion.
It Benefits in Reducing Aches and Pains:
Many people suffer from pains and aches due to the stresses and strains of their day-to-day activities. Shoulder pain, backache or neck stiffness can have a major negative impact on your ability to live.
So, if you are willing to reduce some of those pains and aches and enjoy greater strength and flexibility, then you should try to sit on the floor most of the times in the day as it would strengthen the muscles present in your lower back, abdomen, and pelvis. Moreover, this also improves the strength and flexibility of your knees, legs, and hips.
There Is An Increased Longevity:
We talked about some of the most important benefits of sitting on the floor. However, we must not forget one of the most surprising benefits. Did you know, sitting on the floor can increase your longevity?
In the year 2012, research published in the European Journal of Preventing Cardiology has found that being able to raise oneself from the floor without holding on to anything is linked with an increased life expectancy.
You must know that getting up from the floor with no support requires a combination of balance, strength, and flexibility. All of these things are essential to avoid falls and injuries. It was found from the research that those who were unable to do so, were found to be 6.5 times more likely to pass away in the next 6 years.
It Benefits In Improving Strength:
We talked about this above. Sitting on the floor improves your strength. Having a good posture while sitting on the floor, strengthens your core muscles, which might help in alleviating back pain.
There is an Improved Body Flexibility and Mobility:
Seated positons help in stretching your hips, pelvis, spine, and legs; and this helps to promote natural flexibility in movement.
You start improving your mobility as you stretch your muscles actively while sitting on the floor.
It Benefits In An Improved Blood Circulation:
Sitting on the floor also helps in an improved circulation of the blood. One of the most crucial things that your stomach requires for proper digestion is the proper circulation of blood. Sitting on the floor can benefit you in this. We must mention that sitting on a chair while eating makes blood circulation going in the opposite direction.
There Is A Less Hip Tension:
Prolonged sitting on a chair can make your hips stiff and tight. However, when you sit on the floor, you can stretch your hip flexors easily.
It Prevents Weight Gain:
Weight gain is generally triggered by overeating. When we fail to realize when we are full, we end up eating in excess. This is because of the inability of the vagus nerve to perform its function properly. This is the nerve that sends signals to our brain saying that we are satiated or not.
Now, when we sit on a chair or a table, this vagus nerve does not function properly. Sitting on the floor when you are eating ensures a better functioning on this particular nerve. Thus, you do not overeat. This in turn prevents you from gaining unwanted weight.
It Benefits In Keeping Your Body And Mind At Peace:
Ayruveda has mentioned that sitting on the floor keeps our body and mind at peace. One must not forget that a peaceful mind is required for better digestion.
Various Ways For Sitting On The Floor:
Some of ways that you can try while sitting on the floor are mentioned below. These are some of the sitting positions that can be followed by you while sitting on the floor.
There is some evidence that sitting on the floor while crossing legs or with folded legs is less harmful as compared to other sitting positure, such as squatting on the floor.(3) For sitting in this posture you need to sit on the floor, bend your knees while moving them apart and place one foot under the opposite leg’s knee. Shift your weight to your hips and not your feet. Make sure that you place your belly over the hips.
You can sit on the edge of a folded blanket to reduce the pressure on your hips. Apart from this, you can even place some cushions beneath your knees.
Kneeling is a common sitting position for sitting on the floor.
To kneel on the floor you have to start from the standing position and then step one leg behind you. Shift your body weight to the front leg. Now, slowly lower your back knee to the floor, while keeping the toes on the floor and your ankle flexed. Then, place your shoulders over the hips and lower the front knee to the floor. Make sure that you are keeping your knees shoulder-width apart. Rest your buttocks on both the heels.
From here, you can place your ankles’ top on the floor one by one. Your buttocks will rest on your feet’s soles. In Japanese culture, it is called as, “Seiza”.
You can try this sitting position while sitting on the floor. This side sit posture will stretch your inner thighs.
For this, lower your knees to the right and then place them on the floor. Now, rest the bottom of your right foot against the front of the left thigh. Make sure you are keeping both your hips on the floor, as this would help to keep your spine neutral. Repeat the same in the opposite direction.
You can try one more sitting position on the floor, and that is Bent sit. You can try this position if you have discomfort or pain in ankle or knee joints.
For sitting on this posture, sit on the floor, bend your knees, while planting your feet on the floor. Place your feet hip-width apart. Make sure that you are keeping your belly over the hips.
Long sit is a sitting position that stretches your quad muscles.
To sit in this position, first sit on the floor, extending your legs right ahead. Flex your toes, while pointing them upward. Make sure you are keeping your belly over the hips.
Sit on the edge of a folded blanked for avoiding rounding your back.
Squatting, also known as squat sit, is a sitting position that allows you to easily move between standing and floor positions.
For sitting in this position you should stand with your feet hip-width apart and plant your feet on the floor. Now, slowly lower your buttocks until it is slightly above the floor. Make sure you are keeping your chest and shoulders upright.
Precautions Of Sitting On The Floor:
Some of the precautions of sitting on the floor are mentioned below.
- Kneeling can put stress on your knees and ankle joints. Moreover, the deep knee flexion can even irritate the cartilage present in your knees.
- So, what you can do is change positions from time to time or when your lower limbs start feeling numb or painful. You can also sit on one knee by placing one foot on the floor.
- Squatting requires more muscle activity and balance. This posture also involves lots of knee flexion.
So, if you find difficulty in staying stable while squatting, you can hold onto the wall or table or a couch for balance. You can also more into another position when you start feeling the pain in the knees or ankle while sitting in the squatting position.
You should remember that if you are sitting in cross-legged in the wrong way then it can worsen lower back pain and poor posture.
So, to prevent this, you should avoid hunching your back when you are sitting cross-legged. Make sure you are keeping your spine in a neutral position. In addition to this, keep your weight on the hips and not on your feet, as this would reduce the pressure on your ankle joints while you are sitting in the cross-legged position on the floor.
So, there we have it! Sitting on the floor has got several health benefits. It can help you become stronger, healthier, and also improve your lifespan. It is wonderful for your body and it an excellent way to relax and de-stress after a long tiresome day. You can consider using a floor cushion for making the transition to floor-sitting an easier one.