Sit on the floor. The simple act of getting down on the floor and up again can help you live longer and stronger. A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that the ability to get up from the floor is a significant predictor of longevity in people ages 51 to 80.
According to Livestrong, the researchers observed that individuals who had the hardest time with that task were five to six times more likely to die during their follow-up period than those who could sit and stand with ease. A similar study backed up evidence that the “sitting rising test” or SRT, is a valid evaluation tool of overall health, fitness, and stability.
To perform the SRT, you start in standing position, lower yourself to the floor, then stand back up, using minimal support. The more support you need, like a hand on the ground, the more points are subtracted.
Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo, a specialist in exercise and sports medicine in Brazil, invented the SRT to easily measure non-aerobic fitness, says USA Today. He said the idea came from watching his elderly patients who could pass basic aerobic tests.
“Many of them are able to bike or to run on a treadmill,” Araujo said. “But if you asked them could you tie your shoes, it’s pretty difficult to do that. We realized not only aerobic fitness is important. You also need other things for your life: strength, flexibility, balance.”
Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo, a New York City-based orthopedic surgeon, explains why sitting down on the floor and getting back up again is an excellent tool for health benefits:
- Better balance, stability, and coordination. Getting onto and off the floor requires balance, stability and total body coordination says the expert. This can prevent potentially deadly falls. According to statistics, one out of four older adults fall every year in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 36 million seniors will fall, resulting in 32,000 deaths each year. “As the United States population continues to age, we can expect more deaths from falls,” said Robin Lee, an expert in injury prevention at the CDC. “We can also expect more hospitalizations and nursing home admissions because of falls.
- Greater mobility. You engage several important muscles around multiple joints as you move onto the floor, including those around your shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and feet, says Okubadejo. So, by doing this simple exercise every day you increase your mobility and strength.
- Strong core and legs. You need to use your core muscles to get up off the floor, according to Livestrong, so getting up and down several times is a good core workout. The core involves not only the abdominal muscles but those surrounding the lower back and obliques. You also engage the quadriceps to help you rise, so in essence you are performing a squat to build strong leg muscles.
- Better posture. Your joints begin to align to maintain balance, says Okubadejo, as you rise from the floor. Proper alignment helps keep the head, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles stacked in a healthy way according to the Bone Health & Osteoporosis Foundation. Proper alignment of the body puts less stress on the spine and helps you have good posture.
The best way to sit on the floor is to sit up straight and avoid slouching, which can put extra pressure on your spinal discs and vertebrae. Okubadejo suggests using a small pillow or towel to cushion the tailbone, if necessary, and move your legs frequently to avoid cramps.
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