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“Win the morning, win the day.” – Tim Ferriss
Most of you who read this blog have likely noticed how much of a believer I am in developing morning routines—habitually performed rituals that give us the momentum we need to make the most of the rest of our day. While a good morning routine doesn’t guarantee a successful day, it gives you a fighting chance.
With that said, my morning routines have been fairly erratic throughout this pandemic. Don’t get me wrong—they’re productive, yes. But set? Far from it. I have, however, found an unlikely activity that I will likely keep in my morning repertoire. Well, maybe more of a place than an activity.
Step 1. I get up from bed. I use the bathroom. Feed the cat. Drink a pint of water.
Step 2. I walk into my living room…and collapse to the floor.
Yep. The floor. I really enjoy laying, sitting, rolling around…on the cold hard floor.
Why I Like the Sitting or Laying on Floor in the Morning #1: It’s relentlessly soothing (or “soothingly” relentless?)
The floor is…well, hard. Unforgiving. But you can lay on it. This combination of solid yet accommodating makes my thin area-rug-covered hardwood floor one of my favorite places to stretch out upon first thing in the morning.
Not yet caffeinated or exercised, I’m not ready to do many activities that demand mental acuity or physical agility. My natural state is to want to return to the warm embrace of my memory foam mattress. However, sprawling out on the hard floor begins to awaken my joints and muscles without really any conscious effort. And the first thing in the morning, I’m looking for maximum output with minimum input.
Rocking around on the floor feels like someone rolling a rolling pin up and down the back of your body. While that sounds painful, and it kind of is, it can also feel oh so good.
Why I Like the Sitting or Laying on Floor in the Morning #2: It’s stretching for soft, lazy people.
In order to change positions on the hard floor feels like a natural movement while utilizing muscles you forgot you have.
We spend most of our days in office chairs, supportive seats in a car, on sofas, and finally—big hyper-cushioned beds for hours and hours. All of these apparatuses are aimed at providing comfort. They do this by limiting certain body movements and our need to support parts of our body. They also cushion our kiesters and limit potential instances of circulation cut-offs in certain parts of the body—especially in the legs and feet.
Though these adversity buffers can feel quite nice following a day of arduous labor, few of us break a sweat outside of a gym these days—if then. When this is the case, what were once devices for relief have become sloth enablers. If you are what you sit on, we’ve become a soft, doughy people.
Why I Like the Sitting or Laying on Floor in the Morning #3: If you’re able to be comfortable sitting or laying on the floor, you can find comfort virtually anywhere.
I’ll be the first to admit that sitting and laying on the floor when you’re not used to doing so straight up suuuucks. It’s rigid, uncomfortable, and reveals just how tender and weak you have become as a human. If you’ve ever been forced to sleep or sit on the floor, you can attest to feeling like you should expect to find bruising under your tuchus, back, shoulders, and legs.
After a while, however, you get used to it. You begin to understand how cultures all over the world have come to sit comfortably on the floor well into their old age. After even longer, you find yourself alternating between your $900 couch and enjoying a cup of coffee or glass of wine while sitting on the floor—just depending on the day.
The greatest part of this last point is that getting used to sitting on the floor opens up a world of comfortable seating options to you wherever you are. Are all of the seats at the airport terminal taken? Are there more friends over to watch the big game than there are spots on your friend’s couch. Boom—the floor is yours, pun definitely intended.
Now, you’ll just have to convince the host of the party that, yes, you really are quite ok with sitting on the floor without seeming like a crazy person.
Why I Like the Sitting or Laying on Floor in the Morning #4: Increasing your ability to get up off the floor may actually help you live longer…kind of.
The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology published a story about a team of Brazilian researchers who studied a group of men and women ages 51 to 80 years old for a number of years. One of their findings revealed an interesting discovery—those who required the use of both of their hands and knees to get up and down from the floor were nearly seven times more likely to die within six years than those who get up from the floor without additional support.
Now, will spending time on the floor increase you ability to get up from it and thus extend your functional life? I don’t know. I do know that it will certainly give you more practice.
Bonus: The Back Stretch I Do Every Morning on the Floor
I can’t say that this on-the-floor back stretch is the reason I don’t have any back pain, but I do it every morning and, yep, I don’t have any back pain.
- Lay on your back on the floor.
- With your right arm reaching over your body and rolling onto your left shoulder, reach as far and high to the left as you can.
- Then change sides.
- With your left arm reaching over your body and rolling onto your right shoulder, reach as far and high to the right as you can.
Another bonus is a quote from my wife—who is also an advocate for spending more time on the floor. I told her that I was writing a piece on spending time on the floor in the mornings. I asked if she had any input.
“Your day can only go up from there!”
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