|Getting Married Sitting on the Floor|
|Eating off of Banana Leaves|
Now the benefits of sitting on the floor as advocated by my grandfather comes in the form of a published scientific paper that links sitting on the floor to overall health and life span extension. In the December 13, 2012 issue of the journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, in the article Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality, de Brito, et al strongly suggest that the ability to sit and rise unaided from the floor serves as a predictor of mortality. The Brazilian researchers discovered that subjects who scored poorly on the “SRT score” (sitting-rising score) were at the risk of being 6.5 times more likely to die in the next six years.
The study involved more than 2,000 people ages 51 to 80, who had to sit on the floor and then rise to a standing position using as little support as possible. While the speed with which the subjects sat and stood wasn’t a factor in the scoring system, using a support to rise was a big factor in the scoring system. The more support a person required to rise (for example, placing the hand on the floor or knee or both for support), the lower the score for such action and points were deducted for using support. Rising up with an unsteady gait from a seated position or looking wobbly on the way up or down resulted in deduction of scores. A perfect score of five for each action (sitting and standing) was the goal. The final SRT score varying from 0 to 10 was obtained by adding sitting and rising scores and divided into four categories: 0-3; 3.5-5.5, 6-7.5, and 8-10. More than half the participants with ages from 76 to 80 who scored 0-3 were 6.5 times more likely to die during the course of the study (the study lasted for 6.3 years), compared to people who scored in the higher categories. Thus, during the course of the study 159 of the 2,000 volunteers died, with the majority of the deaths coming from the group that had the most trouble getting up and down. Interestingly, a 1-point increment in the SRT score was related to a 21% reduction in mortality.
The authors believe that muscle wasting and sarcopenia leading to lower limb muscle strength and poor trunk flexibility may influence the ability to sit and rise from the floor. (Baxter has already highlighted this article and mentioned several poses to strengthen the quads, lower back and hamstrings that would help in a smooth sit-rise transition. See From Independence to True Longevity.)
The work and results of the Brazilian researchers were so interesting that the editor of the journal suggested that simple tests like SRT are warranted in general health examinations in order to assess an individual’s mobility, flexibility, functional capabilities, health-related quality of life and outcomes in non-hospitalized aged adults. Meanwhile, I realized that my grandfather, who insisted and inculcated on us the practice of sitting on the floor daily, may just have been a temple priest but he sure possessed unrecognized scientific instincts!
My take home message? Spend more time sitting on the floor! Below are my ten tips for building or maintaining a daily sitting schedule. You can think of adapting one sitting pose and incorporating others gradually, or you can dive into doing most of the activities all the while sitting down. Practice rising up first with a suitable support until you are able to stand up unaided.
10) Sit and watch TV or listen to your favorite music
9) Sit and make all your phone conversations
8) Sit on the floor and do your bills
7) Sit on the floor and read your favorite book
6) Sit and browse the computer or send SMS
5) Sit and do your homework
4) Sit and do the yard work
3) Sit and play some indoor games (Uno, chess, cards, Monopoly, etc)
2) Sit on the floor and start practicing the art of eating (snacks and meals)
1) Sit in the bathtub or shower cubicle and take a shower
|The Groom With His Parents|