Can you stand up easily from sitting on the floor?
Or do you have to crawl over onto your hands and knees and then heave yourself upright to a standing position? Maybe you’re strong enough to stand up effortlessly from sitting on the floor by balancing on just one leg?
The good news is, regardless of which method you choose to manoeuvre yourself from the floor to an upright position, it all comes down to being as creative as possible with how you do it, as it’s better for your body – and your brain – explains physiotherapist Holly Brasher.
“It’s a good indication of hip range of motion, flexibility, agility, core strength, leg strength, coordination and whether you’re good at problem solving,” Holly told Coach at 9Honey.
“If someone’s physical abilities decline, that’s probably an indicator of how they’re ageing,” Holly added.
Interestingly, a Brazilian study from 2012 found that the faster you can get up from a sitting position on the floor, with the least amount of support, the better your chances are of living to a ripe old age.
More than 2000 middle-aged and elderly people participated in the study, which found that those that used both their hands and knees to get up off the floor were seven times more likely to die within six years, compared to the participants who could spring up off the floor from a seated position hands-free.
Holly indicated that a “floor-to-stand” test is a handy tool for people of all ages to attempt, so they can assess how well their body is functioning.
“You could start by seeing how easily you can stand up with no hands from a chair and then progress to the floor,” she suggested to Coach at 9Honey.
It’s particularly “important to balance yourself out”, added Holly, if you don’t spend much time on your range of motion or for those that aren’t very flexible.
Another suggestion from Holly if you’re new to this kind of movement and find it challenging, is to focus on leaning forward as you stand up, so your nose goes over your toes.
“If you’re on the floor, change your legs out of a cross-legged position to start with. I would straighten one leg out, then transfer your weight across,” Holly advised.
“Eventually you could move onto standing up on only one leg, which would require more core and quad strength and balance,” Holly continued.
Thinking of creative ways to lift your body up off the floor to a standing position also contributes to your brain health and helps it to age well.
“Changing the way we do things is healthy for our brains,” Holly explained.
“When the brain learns a new task, it creates new pathways in the brain and increases synapses, so it makes you use more of your brain and grows new parts of your brain.”