As children, getting up and down off the ground is a staple and key movement when we look at development. In fact, when we find that kids cannot complete the task when they are at the age they should, we find that as a problem. As we age there is this switch that happens where we start to avoid being on the floor. Why is that? Maybe it is because there is a comfy couch you would rather be on, maybe it’s just not something that ever occurs to you or maybe it is due to being fearful of not being able to get back up perhaps? Regardless of why, we are huge advocates of making sure everyone is able to get up off the floor at all points in life, never losing that skill. We have people work on this regardless of age. We should look at the way we do kiddos so that the inability to get up off the ground is seen as a problem, not as an understandable side effect of aging. We are going to tell you our top 3 reasons why we believe this skill to be so important and our goal is that by the time you are done reading this, you are challenging yourself to get on the floor at least once a day!
RANGE OF MOTION
Getting up and down up off the floor requires a significant amount of range of motion in our joints to make that movement possible, a range of motion we don’t usually challenge with daily tasks. Think about the things we do in our daily lives, we sit in chairs, we sit in our cars, we walk around and we stand. If you consider the amount of range of motion needed in our hips, knees and ankles for those 4 activities to happen, it’s not very much. Our joints are capable of so much more range of motion but as they say “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. So as we age and joints naturally get a little stiffer and that available range starts to decrease. But if getting up and down off the floor was considered a daily movement then we could be daily pushing back on joint stiffness and daily reducing the risk of stiff joints and muscles as we age. This will therefore make us more mobile, more flexible and more confident as we age.
Falling is a huge issue in the elder population, it can lead to broken bones, hospitalizations and snowball into a really big problem. Instead of instilling fear about falling and how things can go wrong, what if we focused more on how to age in a way that makes you not as susceptible to falling? That way we can have an active part in our aging process and avoid living in fear all the time. Getting up off the floor can help you do exactly that. In a study of 307 elder people ages 75 and up, not being able to get up from off the floor was a significant predictor of serious fall-related injury. Practicing your ability to get up off the floor is a perfect way to not only reduce your risk of falling but also give you strategies on what to do if that does happen. We understand that most people reading this blog are under the age of 75 but we think it is so important to know this information now so it can let you know how to set yourself up for aging and do it in the best way possible.
Did you ever think that something like getting up from the ground would be indicative of your mortality? Surprisingly enough, it is! There have been multiple research studies that have shown this over and over again. In this study, 2002 adults ages 51-81 were tested on their ability to get up off of the ground independently. After a 6 year follow up with those individuals, the less difficulty they had with getting up from the ground, the lower the mortality rate was for those individuals. It makes sense that this would be true especially considering the range of motion and fall prevention perks of getting up off the ground.
So give it a go. Can you get up off the floor? If you can great! Keep it up. If you struggle, find a way that you CAN make it happen. This might be performing it near a chair or coffee table to you can use your arms to help pull yourself up. Practice frequently and overtime, as range and strength builds, you will be pleasantly surprised that this task becomes easier!
We want people to age smart, so that they know what they can do to best set themselves up in the future. Never letting go of the ability to get up off the ground is one simple way to stay mobile, to stay strong and live longer.
Bergland, A., & Laake, K. (2005). Concurrent and predictive validity of “getting up from lying on the floor”. Aging clinical and experimental research, 17(3), 181-185.
de Brito, Leonardo Barbosa Barreto, et al. “Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality.” European journal of preventive cardiology 21.7 (2014): 892-898.