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Sitting down on the ground vs. sitting in a chair – which one is better?

Humans have been resting on the ground for thousands of years using various positions, including squats, cross-legged, or kneeling. Even though there are many things you can do to help your back, it is still very common for people to sit on the ground in many cultures.

Many English-speaking people refer floor sitting to as “Indian style”, but it’s also called “Turkish Style”. It’s known as “Yangban style” in Korea, after the ruling class. In Japan, the formal way of sitting is seiza. This involves sitting on your heels and your knees on the ground.

Sukhasana is a form of yoga that involves sitting cross-legged on a flat surface. This position, also known as lotus, is said to help with posture, flexibility, and peace of mind. It is believed that this position helps with digestion.

Cross-legged, squatting, and kneeling positions help to stretch your hips and legs. This promotes natural flexibility and movement. Should we choose the floor instead of a chair, given that more people spend their day sitting?

The body

Evidence from clinical and anecdotal evidence suggests that different sitting positions place different physical stress on our bodies. Sitting in the same position for long periods of time can affect the structure of your low back (lumbar region of spine) and your pelvis movement characteristics. It is believed that this could lead to long-term health issues such as arthritis.

It is recommended that people use appropriate supports and assistive devices, as well as to change positions frequently when they are seated for long periods of time.

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Researchers and doctors have looked at the ergonomics of sitting on chairs and have provided a variety of tips on sitting upright and how to avoid long-term health problems. But there is actually little scientific evidence on sitting on the floor.

Children naturally gravitate towards the floor.

Health professionals advise that people should sit on the ground to maintain their natural curve. This allows them to be more upright and helps improve posture. Sitting on the ground can also be said to increase strength and flexibility, and help with lower-back pain.

Spinal structure

Although there are not many studies on floor sitting, some research may support these claims. The reason is that the spine structure displays an inward natural curve at the lower back, called lumbar-lordosis. The lumbar lordosis when sitting on the ground is quite low, which is closer than our natural position.

Cross-legged sitting could result in the correct curve at the upper back and lower back. This will help stabilize the pelvis and lower back. However, some sitting positions can rotate the pelvis forwards, and the lumbar lordosis may be more flattened when seated on a chair. This can lead to problems.

Current evidence

Research has shown that lumbar lordosis changes occur most often at the vertebral level, or at the segmental level at lower spine. Lower back pain can be easily aggravated by sitting on the ground. It is important to use a lordotic curve in the lumbar region to avoid this.

Studies show that sitting cross-legged on a chair causes a greater load to the spine and intervertebral discs. It is important to sit correctly.

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As part of a meditation or yoga practice, many people will sit on the ground.

It is still not clear what the exact relationship between low back pain, sitting posture, and how these muscles work. However, scientific has shown that certain lumbopelvic muscles, located in the hip regions, play an important part in postural stabilisation.

Evidence suggests that sitting on the ground with your legs folded is safer than squatting or sitting on the ground with your legs stretched out. One study showed that both squatting and cycling are risk factors for osteoarthritis of the knees.

Although there isn’t enough scientific evidence to support the benefits of floor sitting as a method of sitting down, it is becoming more popular among those who choose to live minimalistic or without furniture.

What’s the best position to sit? Although everyone will have a different sitting position, good sitting habits include regular movement and frequent changes to your position. You can do this by moving around in the chair, or simply standing up and stretching. Listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs.

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