“Can you stand up unassisted?” This was one of the questions I heard trainers ask their new recruits at the gym. I also overheard this same question from the nurse who was asking pre-op questions prior to surgery. It is interesting to learn how much emphasis two different health agencies put on the same issue. Being able to stand up on your own is an important skill.
Standing up by yourself involves muscle strength, core strength, balance and stability. All are important components to retain in life. Trainers at the gym say in addition to standing up unassisted, to think about all the moving, scooting, and climbing that children do in the course of their day. As adults, we need to be able to do these same physical activities or functional fitness, especially as we age.
If standing unassisted is an area of interest for you, here are some different levels:
Scoot to the end of the chair and concentrate on using the muscles in your abs and legs.
This movement is similar to the chair but at a lower level. You will use your muscles for a longer period of time.
The challenge at this level begins with being able to get down into a squat position. Practice squatting. Put your feet pointing forward, about shoulder width apart. Squat down as far as you can go while keeping your head and eyes looking at the horizon. Can you do 1, 3, 5 squats? Can you use your muscles to stand back up on your own once you are in the squatting position? As an exercise; work up to doing 3 sets of 10 squats and stand back up on your own. You can keep your arms at your side or can raise them out front, straight to shoulder height.
This level is more challenging. Sit on the floor. Cross one leg over the other and use your hands to push off the floor into the standing position. Do this by alternating the foot you put forward. Once you can do this, work up to standing up without using your hands to push off. Stand up using just your crossed legs.
Lay on Floor
As an added challenge, stand up from lying flat on the floor. You can do this exercise with weights. Do not cross your legs for this one. From the lying position, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Use the momentum from your arms (raised above your head) to stand up. As you are gaining momentum, your feet will come off the floor some. You can use one weight held between both hands and use that to help your momentum to stand up.
Being able to stand up unassisted is a small task to some and a huge task for others. Remember, the stronger you feel, the stronger you become. Your continued physical strength is essential as you age.
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