Finally, we are going to start heading down! This last month, we have been on a journey building up the framework to make it possible to get up and down off the ground with the least amount of assistance. Studies have shown that the more help you need getting up off the floor, the shorter the time you have to live! I know that sounds crazy, but I think most of us realize that is empirically true. The less mobile and strong we are, the less healthy and capable we are of taking care of life's daily needs. We have talked about the following:
- Proper form in getting up and down out of a chair
- How slowing down a movement can bring out the weak spots and help to isolate your training
- Exercises that stiffen and firm up the torso, and why that is important in being able to move your body mass up and down
Today, we are going to start going from the chair or "neutral" to the floor. In true Dr. Doug Fashion, let's break it down into teachable and trainable parts!
Time to Take a Knee
Kneeling is a very interesting posture. I associate kneeling with several different things, like prayer and fatigue. Today's blog post isn't about prayer, but I think anytime is a good time to take a moment and talk to God! In addition, most of us haven't been so exhausted that we need to "take a knee" since being a kid and maybe we need to work on that! We are focusing on kneeling as a transition from sitting to the floor and possibly from the floor back up, depending on where you are at physically when you start this program. Some of you reading this might consider yourself in pretty good physical condition, but I challenge you to work on today's exercise. You might find it more challenging than you think, primarily because most exercise happens from chair height up and never fully engages some of the deep hip and core muscles.
Even an individual who is very frail usually reverts to the kneeling position when attempting to get up off the floor in the unfortunate event they take a fall. Usually, they will crawl over to some solid piece of furniture, pull themselves up to a kneeling position, and, if possible, from kneeling to standing.
The "up" leg is usually the position of strength or power. For this reason, as we work on this as an exercise, remember to alternate both legs to the up position. In fact, if you find it much easier to get up from one leg versus the other, do more repetitions from the weak leg in order to strengthen the body's core!
Let's Do This Thing!
- Sit upright on the edge of a solid chair, ie a kitchen or dining room chair - no wheels!
- Rotate your torso and pelvis as a unit, 45 degrees to the left.
- Slowly lower your right knee to the floor until it touches. Keep your torso and pelvis stiff.
- Once your knee touches the floor, drive through your left heel to bring your torso and pelvis (still stiff) back up to the chair.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Start out with five to each side and work your way up to ten to each side once per day.
Tips and Pointers
- It may be helpful to use a chair with arms and/or position yourself next to a wall or solid piece of furniture, like a table, for extra points of contact, if necessary.
- Placing your palm (on the same side of your "up leg") on your thigh and applying a downward pressure can help stabilize you when pushing back up (if turned to the left, the left palm goes on the left thigh).
- A little stiffness, awkwardness and even slight pain is normal. Sharp, stabbing pain or almost falling is not acceptable!
Take It Up a Notch
If you find the "slide off the chair" version of this exercise to be really easy, let's step it up a bit to give you more of a challenge!
- Kneel with your right shoulder parallel to a wall, right knee down.
- Lightly touch the wall with your right hand and place your left palm on your left thigh.
- Drive through your left heel until you are standing (use your right hand for balance and your left hand for extra push if needed).
- Lower yourself back to the starting position the same way you came - slow and deliberate, with a stiff torso, and using the wall and thigh for balance and support as needed.
- Repeat five times, then turn around and use the opposite leg.
Your ultimate goal would be to use no additional support (wall and thigh) and move through the full range of motion with a stiff and solid upright torso and in a slow, deliberate fashion.
Remember... If you want the stick, you have to get off the couch!
Combine the chair exercise, wall exercise and kneeling exercise to really begin dialing in the framework of a solid foundation for getting off the ground!
Next post, we will go a little farther down to the basement!
Yours in Health,
Doug Williams D.C Care Chiropractic Lafayette, Indiana