What the heck? What do I mean by telling you to “get down on the floor?!”
Just that- you cannot be flexible and fit, with your mobility intact, unless you get down on the floor (or ground) each day, to stretch, to sit, and to just exist! We are not meant to exist in the sitting position, with occasional standing and walking only- we are meant, in fact we are designed through long evolution to be able to negotiate multiple terrains, and to do so without shoes, without eyeglasses, and without chairs. The old adage to “use it or lose it” never rang more true in history.
I have seen many older people, and by far the majority lose the majority of their flexibility, mobility, and balance by their 50’s- and from there on out, it goes down at an alarming degree, until they are ultimately almost bed-bound. Many are confined to walkers, and can only get out of their chairs by using “lift chairs” that electrically lift them into a standing position with no muscular activity of their own!
The key phrase here is no muscular activity of their own. Before these people start their long decline in physical decrepitude, they begin by losing muscular strength. Without a basic level of strength, you are dooming yourself to early, self-inflicted invalidism. So, do your Perfectly Paleo Exercise, your strength training calisthenics and virtual, isometric, and self-resisted exercises every day, if you can. But definitely three times per week minimum!
But, while you are doing your daily exercise, get down on the floor. I have a yoga mat in my living room I do my pushups and sit ups (straight-legged- no wimpy “crunches” for this paleo man), my hindu squats and back bridges all on this- but, I also spend good amounts of time just sitting on the floor or ground, both inside and out. Because, once you are accustomed to it, sitting on the ground actually just feels good, right, and natural. Because it is!
I have been in Asia, and while we have a “chair based” culture, they have a “floor based” culture- and they are the better for it! I was amazed to see 90 year old frail men and women over there rise effortlessly to their feet after sitting on the floor for a meal of an hour or more. And I am not talking about exceptionally athletic people at all- just slender, kind of frail looking folks, but who had kept their mobility simply by continuing to sit on the floor throughout their lives!
Think about it- in a chair, you are really in a kind of “cast”. A comfortable one, but a cast nonetheless! In the old days (say before about 50 years ago), it didn’t matter as much, because in the course of daily living almost all of us moved our bodies all day long, standing, squatting, walking, pulling and lifting as we went about our daily lives. We would often be on the ground, to plant or lift something. Or just to lie back and contemplate the sky, instead of staring at a small screen for a break. Survival required it back then.
No longer. Now we sleep in flat comfy beds- (if you haven’t inclined the head of your bed yet, do that- see “Inclined Bed Therapy” and read of the many benefits of raising your bed head 4-6”)! Then, we get out of bed, sit in a chair to eat, then drive sitting to a job where we sit all day! Then, come home, sit, and watch TV or at our computer til it is back to a flat comfy bed again. Just by getting on the floor for 1 hour out of the 24, we would be vastly better off, health wise!
So, get down with your bad self! Get funky, get on the floor- let your many stabilizer and trunk muscles do what they are there for. Your core will work, your legs and back will regain flexibility and mobility. All just from getting on the floor!