Simple Blue Zone Habit to Extend Your Life

How often do you find yourself sitting on the floor in your day-to-day life? It turns out, sitting on the floor, while it may not be the most comfortable, is a simple way to improve your longevity. Is it time to abandon your comfy sofa?


Young man sitting on the floor

Blue Zones are the names given to places around the world where people live longer than average and, according to Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner, cultures that 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. “The longest-lived women in the history of the world lived in Okinawa, and I know from personal experience that they sat on the floor,” he explained. “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.”


These observations aren’t just anecdotal. 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.


“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 in a press release.


The motion of moving from a seated position on the floor to a standing position many times a day will strengthen core muscles and improve balance, which are two factors that can improve and extend your musculoskeletal fitness and mobility in general. 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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