We started off the blog series Getting Out of A Chair last time by reviewing an interesting study about the Sit To Rise Test. This test related the risk of dying to how easy you could lower yourself from standing to the floor and back up again. Essentially, you scored a perfect 10 if you could do the whole maneuver without using any assistance (touching anything) and you lost points for how much assistance you needed. The lower your score, the more likely you were to die sooner. One of the interesting things about the study was the difference between scoring a 7 and an 8 (this is literally the difference between needing an additional touch in getting up or down but not both) - it was a 21% difference! Put a different way, if you could improve your score by 10%, you could reduce your risk of death by 21%! You can review the blog post here.
This week, we are going to start the process of improving your Sit to Rise Score. Don't worry, you aren't even going to have to try to sit down on the floor yet! We are going to start by learning how to get out of a chair the right way.
I know what a lot of you might be thinking: "Doc, I know how to get out of a chair, I do it everyday!" Granted, you do get out of a chair multiple times a day, but it may not be using your back and hips in the right fashion, and doing something the wrong way over and over just teaches a bad habit! Part of the reason people get out of a chair the wrong way is, in fact, because we do sit so darn much in our modern lives! We sit in big soft chairs at home, we get in big soft car seats to drive to work and then we sit in soft chairs at work all day, just to reverse the process on the way back to bed at night.
Sitting for long periods of time shortens the muscles in the front of the hips (psoas) and weakens the muscles in the back (glutes). When this happens, instead of pushing yourself up and out of a chair using your butt muscles (glutes), you start to use your thigh muscles (quads). This lends itself to having to flex the torso forward, and you walk all hunched over and stiff for the first five or six steps out of a chair.
Here is how to get out of a chair the right way and take the first step in improving your Sit to Rise Test:
- Slide to the edge of the chair and press your heels into the floor.
- Stand straight up from the hips, keeping your back straight, pushing your behind forward and up.
- At the very end, tighten your glutes and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Sit down the same way, weight through the heels, back straight.
- Get out of every chair this way. In addition, once a day, stand up and sit down continuously starting with a set of five, and work your way up (add one a day) to a set of twenty.
Think about it for a minute, you have to get out of the chair anyway. If you change how you do it, you can start the process of living a longer, healthier, less painful life. That is a pretty good return on investment!
I'd say that is worth getting out of the chair for!
Until Next Time,
Doug Williams, D.C. Care Chiropractic Lafayette, Indiana