One Simple Test of Mobility

There is an increasing emphasis on mobility as one ages.   Mobility allows us to continue to be active which in turn allows us to live life to the fullest. Mobility is something we don’t think about when we are young and then it becomes essential as we age.  How is your mobility?  Let’s look at one simple test of mobility.


Mobility refers to the ability to move and perform activities independently and efficiently.  It encompasses a variety of aspects including physical mobility, balance, flexibility, and functional capacity.

Think of some mobility activities that are taken for granted:

  • Getting in and out of chairs or beds
  • Using the bathroom
  • Walking
  • Getting dressed
  • Climbing stairs

Each one of these simple examples becomes major if they cannot be accomplished without assistance.

The Test

There are different levels to this one simple test of mobility. Start with the first and work up to the harder ones.  Here is the test. 

  • Use a hard back chair (example- chair at the kitchen table).  Sit down in the chair without assistance (using only legs and core), stand up from the chair without assistance (using only legs and core). It is that simple.  Is it easy?  There is a different answer for every person.
  • Repeat the first test but this time add speed to the test. Count how many times you can stand up and sit down in the chair within a minute timeframe. What is the number (3, 7, 11, 15)?  Practice this activity to increase the number of times within the minute.
  • Do the above two steps on a lower surface such as a stool or coffee table.
  • The ultimate test is sitting down and standing up off the floor without using hands.   Criss cross your legs and lower down to a sitting position on the floor.  Criss cross your legs and push up (using legs and core) to the standing position.  This action is hard work and a challenge.

The goal depends on the test results.  Start where you are and work towards improving mobility at that level.  Move on to the next level. 

Mobility can vary greatly among individuals.  Factors such as overall health, chronic conditions and lifestyle choices can influence mobility as you age.  It is hard to predict the future. However, this one simple test of mobility can provide information on present abilities. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can contribute to preserving and improving mobility as you grow older.

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