You may have heard of the Sit-to-Stand challenge. This challenge was developed by Brazilian researchers to test the ability go from standing, to the floor without using hands, then rise back up to standing, again without using hands.

This challenge tests flexibility, balance, coordination, and leg and core muscle strength relative to body weight. Researchers found that those able to do this challenge lived longer. This test isn’t for everyone, however. For those with knee or back issues this challenge may be unsafe. For those with excess bodyweight, this test may not be practical. For many, working to improve performance on the challenge is safe and beneficial.

Give the challenge a try. Keep safety in mind. Do this with another person spotting or be prepared to put your hands down. Stand with your arms out to the side. Cross your legs and put the weight on the sides of your feet. Lower down to the floor ending in a cross-legged position. Try rising back up to standing, similar to the way you lowered to the floor. Note that rising from the floor is harder than lowering to the floor.

Work towards completing the challenge successfully by

1. Adding squats to your strength routine. Deepen your squat, getting your upper legs past horizontal over time.

2. Include more core strengthening to your routine including planks and prone extensions.

3. Work on your balance by doing tandem stance and one legged balance like tree pose.

To slowly progress the challenge:

1. Do squats from a chair

2. Cross your legs and get up from a chair

3. Sit on a lower surface, and rise up to stand

4. Continue to lower your seat, until you are ready to try it from the ground.

Almost everyone can improve performance for the sitting-rising test. You may never be able to complete the full challenge, but any improvement may mean you have better flexibility, coordination, strength, balance and maybe you will even live a little longer.

Give it a try.

by Christy Coughlin

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