The phrase “furniture-free living” kind of sounds like a joke you’d make when showing a friend your new, as-yet-unfurnished apartment. On the surface, the idea of not having any furniture might seem a bit ridiculous. We all need couches, tables, and chairs right? But believe it or not, some people actually make a conscious decision to clear their homes of these things — and the reasons behind it make a lot more sense than you might imagine.

A "couch" composed of nothing but floor cushions - a hallmark of the furniture-free lifestyle.

For most people, the act of sitting for the majority of the day is a relatively new phenomenon. Historically, people have always walked, stood, or crouched a lot more than they do now (at least in the West), burning calories, maintaining muscle tone, and promoting good circulation. Today’s sitting trend puts people at risk of a host of major health problems, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more. Students and people with desk jobs are especially prone to sitting in chairs all day and then coming home to just lounge on the couch before going to bed.

To combat these health risks, experts recommend taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes, standing while watching television or working at a computer, positioning work surfaces above a treadmill, or encouraging friends and colleagues to go on walks instead of hanging out around a table during meetings. But ditching the most tempting places to sit at home could be an even easier way to follow that advice and move more in general.

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Routine Creation. Having a morning routine has been saving me lately. If you’re struggling to start one I encourage you to make a short list of the things that feel good/you need in the morning. Decide on your amount of time that you can dedicate. And then select accordingly. For example, my list was about ten long, I picked three (stretch and breath, hot water, calendar/to do list write) and I do this all in ten minutes. I can’t reliably have more than 10min, but these few things help me stay grounded to start my day. And whenever I have extra time I just snag a few more things off my list and add them in. • • • • #todolisting #morningroutine #morningroutinecreation #furniturefree #movenat

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Advocates of furniture-free living explain that their lack of a couch and dining room chairs keeps them more active than ever, encouraging them to stand, lean, squat, and sit on the floor without support, thereby forcing themselves to engage their bodies. Even the simple act of getting up off the floor helps strengthen muscles in your legs and core, which can dramatically improve posture and reduce bodily aches and pains. Plus, the less furniture you have, the more space there is for you — and your kids — to be active.

A typical furniture-free home might have anti-fatigue mats and cushions on the floor, along with low table surfaces for dining and working. Alternatively, it might offer tree stumps, stools, and/or yoga balls as seating options. Some proponents of this lifestyle simply reduce the amount of seating they own, while others go as far as ditching their beds, opting instead to sleep on the floor. Of course, none of these ideas are new. Many of them have been considered the norm for millennia in some parts of the world (The so-called “Asian Squat” is one interesting example). But evidence is mounting that sitting too much kills, so giving them a little more exposure certainly couldn’t hurt.

Furniture-free living isn’t for everyone. People with disabilities and/or chronic pain, the elderly, and patients recovering from medical procedures are always going to need a comfortable place to sit, and if you have a very active job, you might not need to worry about sitting less, anyway. However, if you are interested in exploring a furniture-free life, getting started is as easy as temporarily putting your couch in storage. “How to Go Furniture-Free in 8 Steps” by movement coach Petra Fisher offers a great primer on the subject.