Those words ring loud and clear in a commercial that dramatizes someone falling and the inability to get up. The commercial is targeted toward the sale of an alert system.
It can be frightening as we age with the fear of falling and not being able to get up and many times it can cause a person to become immobile. Unless we have a chronic condition or injury that causes us to become sedentary, actively keeping the muscles engaged in the process of sitting, standing and getting up from the floor is as important as having good balance.
The primary muscles that are used to sit and stand are your leg and hip muscles which are your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. The secondary engaged muscles are your abdominals and other core muscles. Core muscles are deep within your back attaching to the spine or pelvis. Your calf muscle also assists in standing, sitting and rising from the floor. Your leg muscles are responsible for bending, lifting, straightening and flexing as you sit or stand. Other muscles involved in seated and standing movement are your biceps if you push from a seated position and your back muscles to lower you to a seated position.
Sustained inactivity or a lot of sitting can cause the muscles to become weaker, affecting your everyday movement patterns.
The muscles involved in getting up from the floor include the leg, hip, abdominals, core and some upper body. The muscles include the shoulder, core, chest glutes and hamstrings. Weak legs are one of the main reasons people may struggle with getting up from the floor.
As a personal trainer, I often hear a client say “I need to improve my balance.” Balance is important for all movement patterns and day-to-day functions. We are not born with the natural ability to balance; it is a continuous process in life, especially as we age. You may see people that have good balance and others not. Genes may be a part, but the bottom line is that you must work at it.
The following exercises can help improve your balance and strength, remember to begin slowly.
Balance exercises can help your ability to get off the floor or help if you need assistance with seating and standing. You can work on balance with the assistance of something stable such as a railing or counter. Begin by holding your foot off the floor in all three directions and count the holding time as you add more seconds. Practice until you are comfortable with a minute in each direction. You can achieve this by practicing and adding arm movements to challenge your balance. Progressions for balance exercises include unstable surfaces, longer holding patterns and variations in movement.
Wall pushups are done with your hands pressed against the wall. Step back far enough to lower and rise. Begin with 8 repetitions and progress by stepping further back or raising one leg at a time.
A wall plank is done with arms straight, palms flush to the wall with fingers spread, lean in with the back straight.
To perform a wall sit, place your back against the wall with your feet forward. Lower within your range of motion. Gradually increase the time.
To perform lunges, begin with your hands on the wall or stable chair. Step back with your right or left foot bending the knee. Repeat and hold each repetition for up to 10 seconds.
Seated knee raises are performed by raising each knee towards your chest eight times, two sets on each leg.
Live and love life with mobility.