MOVEMENT AS MEDICINE: The lowdown on living down low

Our sedentary culture and lifestyle shapes the state of our bodies and our health. And it’s not good news. Many of our current health issues stem from our failure to move or to move enough

Even if we go to the gym or a yoga class or two every week, we spend most of our time sedentary. Relaxing on a couch, a chair, or a beach chair.

But the truth is we don’t need spend more time at the gym. Rather, we need to find ways to move more after we leave the gym or the yoga studio. Create more options to move right where we live.

You don’t need more time in your day. You can find new ways to move that don’t take any extra time. Look around your own living space. Find a way to live “down low”.

One easy beginning could be this: use your coffee table as a dining table. Get down on the floor with a pillow under your legs for comfort. Sit on your knees. Or sit with your legs crossed.

What I am proposing may seem radical and counter-culture to you. It is definitely a lifestyle change. Choosing to sit in a chair (or not) seems neutral, but it isn’t.

Our joints need on-off compression throughout their greatest range of motion.  The simple movement of getting down and up from your new low dining table does this for you. A recent study found that the ability to get up and down off the floor correlates with longevity.

Sitting on the floor is a good alternative to sitting it a chair. But it isn’t the major benefit. The major benefit is the getting up and the getting down. An important movement skill that many of us lose as we age.

Getting up and down creates pressure in the joint cartilage in the ankles, knees, and hips. It nourishes the spinal discs and improves lower back function. It stimulates the lower end of the digestive track and helps reduce constipation. This is an easy way increase or maintain your flexibility and work a variety of muscle groups.

Don’t give away your dining room table yet.  Just start eating at your coffee table. Watch for changes.

You are beginning to think act like a real natural mover. You are creating an environment that supports your joints.

Now you may be ready to consider other changes that increase your opportunities to move. You can replace your couch with a pad on the floor. You can remove your bed frame and place your mattress on the floor. Be creative. Be playful. Think outside the box. Pat yourself on the back. You are reclaiming your good health, one baby step at a time.

Summing up:

Think outside the box and create opportunities for you to move more in your daily life. Start by eating at your coffee table. Getting down and up is a movement that used to occur naturally. Give it back to yourself. And reap the benefits.



Via Anderson, E-RYT, is a Yoga and movement coach and teaches the Intelligent Movement Forever system of healthy movement in a weekly online class, in private sessions, and at Yoga Vallarta during the high season. This 77-year-old grandmother practices what she preaches and teaches. She is the author of “How to Move Without Pain: A Compendium of Intelligent Movement”, to be released in 2019.