Can you get up from the floor unaided?
BY TOM BUSSELBERG
LAYTON — As a kid, sitting, rolling and romping on the floor – and then jumping up and running outside — is a common activity.
Most adults, unless they’re aerobics instructors, don’t spend that much time in similar pursuits.
But, as an adult, especially middle-aged or older, can you get up from a cross-legged position on the floor – unaided or without using a hand or other support?
A study was released late last year of 2,000 middle-aged and older men and women. It looked at their ability to sit and then rise unaided from the floor.
The research was performed by Dr. Claudio Gil Araujo and colleagues at an exercise medicine clinic in Rio de Janeiro. Findings were reported in the “European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention.”
The simple study, which took an average of two minutes, was done in 2002 on adults ages 51 to 80.
“Without worrying about the speed of movement, try to sit and then to rise from the floor, using the minimum support that you believe is needed,” subjects were told.
The health condition of subjects was tracked until near the end of 2011, or date of death.
When differences in age, gender and body mass index were factored in, investigators said the sitting-rising test score is a significant predictor of all-cause mortality.
Subjects in the lower score range had a risk of death that was five to six times higher that of their peers.
A high score, or ability to perform the test successfully, “reflect the capacity to successfully perform a wide range of activities of daily living, such as bending over to pick up a newspaper or a pair of glasses from under a table.”
Even more telling is that a one-point increase in the sitting-rising score was related to a 21 percent reduction in mortality.
“If a middle-aged or older man or woman can sit and rise from the floor using just one hand – or even better without the help of a hand – they are not only in the higher quartile of musculo-skeletal fitness but their survival prognosis is probably better than that of those unable to do so,” Araujo said.
Things to look for in aging are provided by Dr. Frank Wildman, who has created program for baby boomers called Change Your Age.
Do you have difficulty climbing up and down stairs?
Consider whether you able to extend your hip backward and straighten your knees for full use of the upright gait.
Wildman suggests looking out at the horizon as you bend and straighten your knees slowly several times, followed by quickly, as if about to jump. If your heels leave the floor when you come up, that’s good.
If you practice bending and extending your knees as if to jump, it will help you climb stairs and increase the length of your stride.
Do you push off with your hands to get out of a chair?
Doing that instead of using your legs is an example of a lack of ease in moving from one position to another, such as going from sitting to standing and vice versa.
Wildman suggests sitting in the middle of your chair and pushing your pelvis forward and back on your chair without using your hands. Then, before standing up, think that you’re doing to jump without doing so. Just feel the act of standing from a chair on the way to jumping. It should be a feeling of lightening the load.