The Floor is our Friend

By Erin Reidman, CC’s Staff

The Floor is Our Friend

Let’s think about an average day for the adult American. We sleep on our backs, wake up, stand to get ready, sit on a kitchen chair to eat breakfast, sit in the car on the way to work, sit or stand at work, drive home, make dinner, sit down for dinner, do life in standing, then possibly end the day sitting on the couch or in the recliner before we sleep on our back. Repeat.

Consider the joints of our body. We are composed of multiple joints ranging from ball and socket (shoulder, hip) to hinge joints (elbow, knee, etc.). Active movement results in a release of synovial fluid which helps lubricate the joint space, thus reducing friction within the joint during movement. Motion is lotion. How many times a day do we naturally take our joints through their full available range of motion? How often do we squat fully down to the floor (2-year-old style) or sit cross legged? As we age, we tend to use the full range of our joints less, eventually leading to less mobility and more restriction. This can increase the likelihood of painful impingement and less elasticity within the surrounding structures and consequential tendon injury. Ouch.

Embracing a floor culture lifestyle may seem a little out of the ordinary in the U.S. However, in 2011, osteoarthritis accounted for 95 percent of the 757,000 total knee replacements and 80 percent of the 512,000 total hip replacements in this country.1 The development of OA has been linked to numerous lifestyle factors, and maintaining a well-rounded, anti-inflammatory diet and active lifestyle emphasizing mobility can decrease the likelihood of developing OA.2 The concept of #floorculture is bringing awareness to the necessity of maintaining mobility throughout all our joints, but most notably through the spine, hips, and knees (most commonly affected by OA).3

No need to throw out the kitchen table and spread Moroccan pillows throughout your house (but really, if you do this, I will be coming over to hang out). Embracing this culture and practice is easy. Choose to sit on the floor in front of your couch while you Netflix, squat to the floor while you’re picking up 39,802 Legos, take frequent stand-to-squat breaks during your work day, opt to sit on the grass during the picnic instead of the table, or start every morning with a “controlled articular rotation” mobility session. These ideas are not only beneficial for joint health, but the frequent transitions from floor to standing are strength building and essential for building resilience within the musculoskeletal system. If done properly, floor culture can also help improve posture and pelvis position, aid in digestion, and improve balance.4

Listening to our bodies and understanding limitations and abnormal responses are a must when introducing anything new. Try it out, start in short increments, and give the body a little credit. Pain free is key. If you can’t comfortably assume a floor position or safely get off the floor, you have some work to do. A physical therapist can help evaluate your movement patterns and help you determine what positions are appropriate for you in your current stage of life and guide you towards your goals. Maintaining mobility is key if you currently have full and pain free range of motion. Keep your joints healthy and MOVE. Move well, move often, move freely!

Visit us at CC’s Physical Therapy if you want to pursue a health journey that allows unrestricted movement and lifestyle!

  1. https://www.boneandjointburden.org/2014-report
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/risk-factors.htm 
  3. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/osteoarthritis
  4. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/fitness/articles/2017-12-04/the-6-best-exercises-for-preventing-falls-in-older-adults is our friend

Post Author: Erin Reidman

Erin is a DPT, wife, and mom of two wild boys. When not at work, you can find Erin teaching fitness classes at the YMCA or daydreaming of the next mountain biking/rock climbing adventure with her main squeeze.

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