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The Surprising Effects Eating on the Floor Has For the World's Oldest People

This may make you want to invest in a floor pillow or two.

The Blue Zones are becoming more popular every day, and for good reason. These five regions of the world are said to have the highest concentration of centenarians, which means many of their residents live to be 100 years or older. In fact, most of these regions have very few cases of the diseases wreaking havoc on countries like the U.S., such as heart disease, dementia, and cancer.

The Blue Zones have become popular because many people want to know their secrets to longevity in hopes of applying these habits to their own lives. These communities build health into their daily routines and value preventative medicine, rather than just waiting to try and fix a concern once it's already happened. They do this by eating healthy, staying in close community, and moving naturally on a regular basis.

One Blue Zone in particular has an ancient yet simple practice that keeps them healthy throughout their lives. The people of Okinawa, Japan sit on the floor for many of their daily activities: resting, reading, spending time with loved ones, and even eating!

But what does this practice of eating on the floor have to do with their health and vitality?

Japanese women eating on floor

According to the original Blue Zones website, which is dedicated to staying on top of longevity research and practices related to centenarians, Okinawans sit on the floor and stand back up many times a day, more so than many other areas of the world.

"This exercises their legs, back, and core in a natural way as they get up and down all day long. Sitting on the floor also improves posture and increases overall strength, flexibility, and mobility," says the website.

Research also shows that maintaining this mobility throughout your life can help you live a longer life. According to a popular study from the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, not being able to stand and sit on the floor was actually associated with a shorter life.

In the U.S., we spend a lot of time being sedentary, especially those working at home. Because of this, we often miss opportunities to move throughout the day, which can negatively impact our longevity and overall health.

If you feel inspired to improve your health by adopting a simple practice, the Blue Zone website suggests investing in a couple of comfortable floor pillows and changing up your routine! Try eating one meal a day on the floor, or taking your next Zoom meeting there!

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha