I challenge you to spend more time sitting on the floor! That might sound ridiculous to some of you, but stay with me, and I'll explain why you should try this. When we are little (like my 1 year old daughter pictured here), sitting on the ground is natural and comfortable. Somehow after years of sitting at desks, in chairs, and on couches, sitting on the floor starts to feel much less natural and comfortable. Here are some of the reasons that I think it is important for all of us to try sitting on the floor.
Sitting on the ground => movement when you aren’t “trying to move”.
Most people think of exercise as something they should do for 30-60 minutes/day. What they don't think about, is what their bodies are doing the other 23 plus hours/day. I encourage you to find ways to move during more of your waking hours. Sitting on the ground is a great way to do that! If you took a time lapse video of me sitting on my couch for 2 hours and sitting on the ground for 2 hours, you will see MUCH more movement while on the ground. (Note: ground and floor are used interchangeably - it does not matter if you are inside or outside).
What Happens When You Sit on the Couch or Comfortable Piece of Furniture?
What Happens When You Sit on the Floor?
When Should You Sit On the Floor?
Find a time to sit on the floor during any of your normal activities. It could be watching a TV show or movie at home, playing with kids, or even when doing computer work. Doing some computer work is a necessary part of my job, and I often sit on the floor and do this. Isn't this a bad ergonomic position? My answer to this is a bit unconventional. I used to think that having a perfect ergonomic work set up was the best way to avoid overuse injuries. The problem with having a "perfect ergonomic set up" is that it is more comfortable, and this allows a person to not move. When a person is a bit less comfortable, they tend to move more and take more breaks. Honestly, I don't believe that there is any good way to do hours and hours of seated computer work on a daily basis.
Think about what our ancestors used to do....
I like to think about how humans lived thousands and thousands of years ago. In the last 100 years, we have come to expect the convenience and comfort oriented lifestyle that has become standard for us. A quick google search shows that the couch was invented in 1895 and the recliner was invented around 1928. Clearly humans have been around for much longer than this and survived without these comfort items. Many would argue that they were stronger and fitter than most people in our country today.
What Position Should You Sit In?
What If You Can't Sit On the Floor?
- Sit on a harder chair
- Sit on a chair with no back (forces you to engage core)
- Sit on progressively lower chairs or stools (this might resemble sitting on a stump from the ancestral perspective)
- Sit on the floor with some pillows around/under you. While these are still “comfort items” this could be a gentler transition from the couch to the floor.