It ain’t that you sit, it’s the place where you’re sitting (and for how long)

By Jaconel Janssen

Are you looking for a simple way to improve your overall strength and mobility while watching your favourite show? Don’t look at the sofa, but go down to the ground.

In the last few weeks we practised getting up and down from the floor, and started strengthening the muscles and mobility needed to do this. You can take it further by spending more time on the ground.

Sitting a lot, and especially for extended periods of time, comes with a health warning. When you sit, you use less energy than when you stand or move.

Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

So, sitting a lot is not great. But not all sitting is created equal. The best thing of course is to avoid sitting for too long. Then start making your sitting better by mixing it up. Sit on a variety of chairs, choosing different heights. A kitchen chair will promote a better posture than that lovely ‘comfortable’ sofa in the living room.

After half an hour of sitting, get out of one chair to go sit in another. You will have moved your body and will sit differently for a while. Get up and down a few times before you get comfortable.

One of the benefits of sitting on the floor is that you will never be as immobile as in the chair. You will automatically move regularly to be comfortable. You’re less likely to slouch or sit still on the floor. This will help you strengthen your whole body, core, legs and arms, not in the least when getting up and down to the ground.

There are some wonderful stretches you can do here too. If these benefits weren’t enough, getting onto and back up from the floor will help improve your mobility, stability, balance and coordination.

If the floor is a step too far, try sitting on a cushion or poof to make it more accessible. No need to ditch the sofa, but do try spending more time on the ground to improve your full body strength and overall health.

Would you like more ideas to strengthen your life? Get in touch to find out about studio or online classes, a ‘movement bundle’ (short video classes you can download) or one-to-one session.

Jaconel Janssen is a Pilates and Buff Bones teacher and founder of Pilates People Cork. She teaches regular movement classes in Cork (Douglas area), both in person and online, and a regular outdoor class. Visit or Facebook Pilates People Cork or contact or 085-1613505.