How to fix it? The FORWARD LEAN.
Now that you know why sitting/standing might be hard (there are other possibiliites, including weakness or pain), let’s try fixing it.
Start from a higher chair or sit on the edge of a tall bed. It should already be easy to stand from this height, so if it’s not, put a cushion on top of your chosen surface to make it easier. As you get better, you can lower your chair height until you can get out of any chair in your home, and even the dreaded toilet seat!
Here’s the movement. Start sitting down. When you are ready to stand, start the movement by leaning forward so that your chin is IN FRONT of your toes (if this feels scary, just practice the lean for a while without actually standing up). Next, stand up from that position. It SHOULD feel much easier than staying upright when you stand.
To sit down, you reverse the movement. You will bend your knees to start sitting (don’t let yourself rest the backs of your legs on the bed/chair), and focus on keeping your chin in front of your toes until your bottom hits the seat.
Practice this 10 times, then, if it’s easy and comfortable, try it on a slightly lower chair.
I often tell my clients to do 3 repetitions of this movement any time they get up out of a chair, and to focus on leaning forward every time they sit down or stand up.
What if you can’t do this, or if you have pain while trying?
IF YOU HAVE PAIN when trying to get up out of a chair, or if you have fallen in the past year, please contact us at Langford to see what you need to do to see one of our physical therapists. We can figure out why you’re having pain, treat that, then progress you to getting up and down safely. We will also probably do some of those tests I talked about in the beginning that determine whether you are at risk of falling, and work on all of those aspects of balance that might be hard for you.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE PAIN, but just have a hard time getting up smoothly from a chair or from the floor, contact us at MoveTru or sign up here for a RESTORE class. These are our gentler classes and the focus is balance and safe transitions from the chair and eventually the floor. It always sounds just a little boring or benign, but it is actually REALLY fun, so give it a try! Jason teaches these classes, and works closely with our physical therapists to develop progressions that are safe and effective and fun.
If you want to learn more ways of getting up, or if you can’t get down to the floor or back up, contact us to see if you can get in to see which avenue is right for you: physical therapy or MovNat classes at our MoveTru space.
1. Applebaum EV, Breton D, Feng ZW, et al. Modified 30-second Sit to Stand test predicts falls in a cohort of institutionalized older veterans. Bowen M, ed. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(5):e0176946. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0176946.