Abandon your Furniture for a Longer Life

Sitting on the floor, while it may not be as comfortable as your sofa, is a simple way to improve your longevity.

Dan Buettner, longevity expert and National Geographic fellow, says cultures that tend to keep their furniture to a minimum and therefore spend a lot more of their time seated cross-legged on the floor experience evident health benefits. For example, the famously long lived women of Okinawa. Buettner says that "I know from personal experience that they sat on the floor. I spent two days with a 103-year-old woman and saw her get up and down from the floor 30 or 40 times, so that’s like 30 or 40 squats done daily.”


On the other side of the world, The European Journal of Preventative Cardiology published a study that suggests that individuals who were the least able to complete the sitting-rising test, which assesses one’s ability to stand up without the help of any other limbs from a seated, cross-legged position, were five or six times more likely to die than those who were best able to complete it, reports Well+Good.


“It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio, and coordination are not only good for performing daily activities but have a favorable influence on life expectancy,” said lead researcher Claudio Gil Araújo.


The act of rising from a seated position on the floor to standing many times a day will strengthen core muscles and improve balance, which are two positive ways to improve and extend your musculoskeletal fitness and mobility in general. Essentially, avoiding sitting on your comfy chair all the time is like having your own mini-gym at home. It's particularly important for older people, as one of the top causes of unintentional injury-related death for those over the age of 65 is accidentally falling, which becomes less likely if you continually strengthen your musculoskeletal fitness.


Another positive aspect of being able to sit down and stand back up from the floor relatively easily is that “it’s a wonderful sign of overall structural, skeletal health, and muscular balance and alignment,” said body alignment specialist Lauren Roxburgh.

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