From Stiff Joints to Spring in Your Step: The Hidden Benefits of Floor Sitting

by | Jun 12, 2024 | Medical

Over time, our bodies undergo a series of natural changes that can make everyday activities more challenging.  Stiff joints, aching backs, and decreased mobility can take a significant toll on our quality of life, making even simple tasks like getting up from a chair or going for a walk feel like an insurmountable task. However, there is a simple yet powerful solution that can help alleviate these symptoms and restore a sense of vitality and flexibility to our daily lives that you may not have realised: floor sitting. This ancient practice, which has been used for centuries in yoga and meditation, has been shown to have a profound impact on the health and wellbeing of older adults, improving joint mobility, reducing pain and inflammation, and even boosting mood and cognitive function. In this article, we’ll explore the hidden benefits of floor sitting and provide practical tips and exercises to help you incorporate this simple yet powerful practice into your daily routine.

Maintaining mobility and flexibility can have a profound impact on our mental and emotional well-being. When we’re able to move freely and comfortably, we feel more confident, more energetic, and more connected to the world around us. We’re more likely to engage in activities that bring us joy, spend time with loved ones, and pursue our passions without restriction.

In this sense, floor sitting is not just a simple exercise, but a key to unlocking a world of possibilities and experiences. By incorporating floor sitting into your daily routine, you can start to regain the mobility and flexibility you need to live life to the fullest – and rediscover the joy and freedom that comes with it.

The negative effects of prolonged sitting 

When we sit for extended periods, our muscles, particularly in the legs and glutes, begin to weaken and atrophy. This can lead to a loss of flexibility, making everyday activities, such as walking or getting out of bed, increasingly difficult. The spine also begins to compress, putting additional pressure on the joints, which can lead to painful conditions like arthritis. Furthermore, prolonged sitting can disrupt the body’s natural blood flow, leading to poor circulation and a reduced ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.

The effects of prolonged sitting can also have a profound impact on mental health. But, what if we told you that there’s a simple, yet powerful way to alleviate this discomfort and regain some of that spring in your step? Enter floor sitting, a forgotten art that’s been rediscovered by many in recent years. This ancient practice, which involves sitting on the floor with your back straight and your legs bent, has been shown to have a multitude of benefits for older adults.

Not only can floor sitting help to reduce joint stiffness and improve flexibility, but it can also increase blood flow to the legs, reduce swelling and inflammation, and even strengthen the muscles in the legs and hips. By sitting on the floor, you’re also able to engage your core muscles, which can help to improve balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls and injuries. And, as an added bonus, floor sitting can be a great way to relax and reduce stress, promoting a sense of calm and well-being. Whether you’re looking to alleviate chronic pain, improve your overall health, or simply feel more comfortable in your own skin, floor sitting is an exercise that’s definitely worth trying.

How to get started with floor sitting

In their book Built to Move, Juliet and Kelly Starrett advocate that sitting on the floor with crossed legs is one of the ten healthy habits everyone should include in their daily routine. As you prepare to embark on the journey of floor sitting, it’s essential to start with the basics. Begin by finding a comfortable and quiet space where you can sit without distractions or interruptions. A carpeted floor is ideal, as it provides a soft and cushioned surface to sit on. Remove any shoes, slippers, or socks to ensure your feet can get the proper support and traction.

Position yourself with your back against a wall, if possible, to maintain good posture and prevent your back from slouching. Keep your legs straight out in front of you, with your feet flexed and your toes pointing towards the ceiling. You can also try crossing your legs at the ankles, but be sure to keep your knees relaxed and not tense.

Take a few deep breaths, feeling the weight of your body distributed evenly on the floor. Allow your shoulders to relax and your chest to open up, taking in the fullness of your breath. As you sit, notice the sensation of the floor supporting your body, the gentle pressure on your skin, and the subtle vibrations of your breath.

Remember, the key is to start slow and gentle, listening to your body and honouring its limitations. Begin with short sessions, gradually increasing the duration as you build your endurance and comfort with the practice. With regular practice, you’ll find that floor sitting becomes a beloved ritual, offering a sense of calm, relaxation, and rejuvenation that will benefit your entire being.

How floor sitting can improve joint mobility

As we age, the natural lubrication and flexibility of our joints can start to decline, making everyday movements a chore. The stiffness can become a significant barrier to enjoying activities and hobbies that once brought us joy. However, floor sitting, a simple yet powerful practice, can be a game-changer for older adults seeking to regain their range of motion. By sitting on the floor, you can gently stretch and mobilise your joints, reducing stiffness and improving overall flexibility.

When you sit on the floor, you’re allowing your joints to move naturally, without the constraints of a chair or sofa, which can restrict movement. This increased mobility can help to reduce stiffness and pain in the hips, knees, and ankles, making it easier to rise from the floor, walk, and engage in activities you love. Additionally, floor sitting can help to lengthen the muscles in your legs, hips, and back, which can become shortened and tight with age. By releasing these tension points, you can improve your posture, reduce the risk of falls, and even alleviate back pain.

The benefits of floor sitting for joint mobility are multifaceted, and can be particularly beneficial for older adults who may be experiencing arthritis, osteoporosis, or other age-related conditions. By incorporating floor sitting into your daily routine, you can say goodbye to stiff joints and hello to a spring in your step, regaining the freedom and mobility you once took for granted.

How floor sitting can improve balance and reduce falls

When we sit on the floor, our bodies are forced to engage our core muscles and work in harmony with our legs and arms to maintain balance. This is in contrast to sitting in a chair, which can lead to poor posture and a weakening of our core muscles. By sitting on the floor, we are able to engage our deep stabiliser muscles, which are essential for maintaining balance and preventing falls. Additionally, floor sitting can help to improve our proprioception, or our sense of body awareness, which is critical for navigating our surroundings safely.

As we practice floor sitting, we can also incorporate gentle movements and stretches to further enhance our balance and flexibility. By combining these exercises with a regular floor sitting practice, older adults can experience significant improvements in their balance and overall stability. This, in turn, can help to reduce the risk of falls and improve their overall quality of life. With the benefits of floor sitting, it’s no wonder that this ancient practice has been rediscovered by many as a natural and effective way to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.

Tips for incorporating floor sitting into your daily routine

As you settle into the gentle rhythm of floor sitting, you may find yourself wondering how to seamlessly integrate this new habit into your daily routine. The good news is that incorporating floor sitting into your daily life is easier than you might think. In fact, you can start reaping the benefits of floor sitting at any time, whether you’re sitting on the floor while watching TV, meditating, or simply taking a short break from your daily activities.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Start small: Begin by setting aside just 5-10 minutes a day to sit on the floor. You can do this while watching your favorite TV show, reading a book, or simply taking a short break from your daily routine.
  • Make it a habit: Try to incorporate floor sitting into your daily routine at the same time every day. This will help make it a habit and ensure that you make time for it.
  • Mix it up: Don’t be afraid to get creative with your floor sitting. Try sitting on a different type of surface, such as a cushion or a bench, or experiment with different sitting positions.
  • Invite others to join you: Floor sitting can be a great way to connect with others and build a sense of community. Invite friends or family members to join you for a floor sitting session, or join a local group that focuses on floor sitting.

Common misconceptions about floor sitting

When it comes to floor sitting, many older adults assume that it’s a practice reserved for the young and flexible, or perhaps only beneficial for those who are already accustomed to yoga or meditation. But the truth is, floor sitting is a versatile and accessible form of exercise that can be adapted to suit any age or ability. In fact, floor sitting has a wealth of benefits that can be particularly transformative for older adults.

Despite its numerous advantages, however, many people still harbour misconceptions about floor sitting. One common misconception is that it’s only for people who are already comfortable with sitting on the floor, or that it’s only suitable for those with a certain level of flexibility or mobility. Nothing could be further from the truth. With a few simple modifications, floor sitting can be adapted to suit even the most limited of mobility.

Another misconception is that floor sitting is a slow and tedious process, only suited to those who have hours to spare. While it’s true that floor sitting can be a calming and meditative practice, it can also be a quick and energising way to improve circulation, reduce pain and stiffness, and even boost mental clarity and focus. In fact, many people find that floor sitting is a great way to take a break and recharge, even if they only have a few minutes to spare.

By dispelling these common misconceptions, we can unlock the full potential of floor sitting and start to experience the many benefits that it has to offer.

The importance of proper alignment and technique

As you settle into the floor, it’s essential to prioritise proper alignment and technique to reap the full benefits of floor sitting. This may seem like a straightforward task, but it’s crucial to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your joints and muscles. Imagine trying to build a house on shaky ground – the foundation is everything. Similarly, the foundation of your floor sitting practice is the alignment of your body.

Imagine a straight line running from the crown of your head to your heels, and make sure to maintain this posture. Your shoulders should be relaxed, down and away from your ears, and your spine should be long and engaged. Your hips should be in a neutral position, with your weight evenly distributed between your sit bones and your heels. Your knees should be bent at a comfortable angle, and your ankles should be in line with your knees.

As you practice floor sitting, pay attention to your breathing and allow your body to relax into the position. Avoid sinking or collapsing into the floor, as this can lead to poor posture and discomfort. Instead, focus on lengthening and opening your body, allowing your joints to release and your muscles to relax. With proper alignment and technique, floor sitting can become a powerful tool for reducing stiffness and increasing mobility, allowing you to move with greater ease and confidence.

How to modify floor sitting for older adults with mobility issues

While floor sitting may seem like a daunting task, especially for older adults with mobility issues, there are many ways to modify this practice to make it accessible and enjoyable for everyone. The key is to start slow, listen to your body, and be gentle with yourself.

One way to modify floor sitting is to use a supportive surface, such as a thick blanket or a foam mat, to cushion your joints and provide a sense of security. You can also use pillows or cushions to support your back and neck, allowing you to maintain a comfortable and relaxed position.

For those with mobility issues, it may be helpful to start in a seated position and gradually lower yourself to the floor, using your arms or a chair for support. You can also try using a chair or a bench to help you get up and down from the floor, eliminating the need for strenuous bending or lifting.

Another modification is to try “half-sitting”, where you sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, rather than sitting cross-legged. This can be a more comfortable and accessible option for those with mobility issues, while still allowing you to reap the benefits of floor sitting.

Remember, the most important thing is to listen to your body and take regular breaks to stretch and move around. With patience, practice, and gentle modifications, you can enjoy the many benefits of floor sitting, even as an older adult with mobility issues.


So, what’s next? If you’re new to floor sitting, start by setting aside a few minutes each day to try it out. Begin with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable. You can also experiment with different types of floor sitting, such as using a bolster or pillow for support, or trying out different postures and angles.

For those who are already incorporating floor sitting into their routine, consider sharing your experience with others and encouraging them to give it a try. Whether it’s through a health class, a community centre, or simply by sharing your story with friends and family, spreading the word about the benefits of floor sitting can help create a ripple effect of positive change.

Remember, the key to reaping the rewards of floor sitting is consistency and patience. By committing to this simple yet powerful practice, you can take the first step towards a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.


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Become a Mover Member today to enjoy tips and tricks on living your best life. Your account will give you free access to amazing recipes which you can save and rate, eating plans and easy to follow workout routines to help you move with confidence.
Just like our Private Facebook Community, we will never share your information with others.


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