There are certain movements that a young and vital man like me takes for granted. Soon after I began working with older adults at the Duke Center for Living I learned about a new fitness test that I instantly became excited about: The Sitting to Rising Test. This test was the cat’s pajamas. It was quick, required no equipment, and it tested full body strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination all at once.
My supervisor was intrigued by the test, and told me to try it out on a few of my clients and report back. If all went smoothly we would consider using the test as part of the Fitness Assessment we offer to all of our members at DCFL. With vigor I set out asking all of my clients to assist me with a new project. Upon sensing my excitement they all said they would be happy to help out. “What do I have to do?” they asked.
This is where things went downhill quickly. After explaining that The Sitting to Rising Test involved sitting down to, and then standing up from the floor, each one would get that deer in the headlights look. “You want me to sit ALL the way down to the floor?” One of them asked. “You must be crazy!” Only three of the twenty seniors I recruited to help me out even attempted the test. The rest were struck with fear and refused.
In order to live the highest possible quality of life, one must be comfortable with the floor. What if you accidentally drop your reading glasses and they bounce under the bed? How disappointed are your grandkids when you refuse to play with them on the floor? What if you fall and no one is around to help you? It is a slippery slope to dependence when we lose the ability to rise from the floor efficiently and effectively.
Starting from a seated or lying position, roll onto hands and knees. Step your right leg to the outside of your right hand. Put your right hand on your knee, and bring your left hand into the spot on the floor where your right hand just moved from. Push through both feet and both hands and stick your butt up into the air. Shift your weight into your legs so you can lift your left hand off the floor and have both hands on your knees. From here, stand erect and bring your feet together. Reverse the process to return to the floor. For the deconditioned, place a sturdy chair in front of you for elevated support as you lunge down to and up from the hands and knees position.
Find ways to incorporate the floor into your daily life. Your confidence in performing activities of daily living will soar, if you can commit to making friends with the floor.
By Jared Rogers
Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer
Duke Center For Living at Fearrington