Find Your Place: Build Strength and Confidence

By the Editors of SilverSneakeres |

Having a hard time getting up and down from a seated position? These exercises can help.

One of the comments we hear most often from the SilverSneakers community is how hard it can be to go from a seated position to standing tall. Few can remember exactly when the once fluid, effortless movement became a two- or even three-part ordeal, but that's certainly the current reality for many.

But hope isn’t lost. With a few exercises, you can help retrain your body to work as a cohesive unit to make standing up easier, says SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack.

“Getting up and down from a seated position is where independence lives,” says Jack. “If you can build strength and confidence from here, you’ll have it everywhere in life.”

Need more proof? Consider the findings of a study from the European Journal of Preventive Medicine. Researchers found that the easier it was for people to lower themselves to a sitting position and then return to standing, the less likely they were to die from any cause during the study’s six-year follow-up period.

Ready to tap into your youthful stance and learn how to get up and down safely? Add these three moves to your workout routine.

How to Use These Exercises

You'll need a sturdy chair or weight bench. If you need a little support, use a chair with armrests, or bring your chair close to a counter so you have something to grab.

These balance and coordination exercise are safe enough to do every day. As you go through the motions, think about using your leg and glute muscles to power you through.

Once you’re comfortable with the exercises, try putting your new skill to use in real-life scenarios—getting up from your couch, out of your car, or off the edge of your bed.

As always, safety is key. These exercises may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Sit-to-Stand Exercise #1: Normal Stance

Do 4 to 6 reps

How to do it: Sit in a sturdy chair with your feet about hip-width apart and flat on the floor. Lift your chest and chin so your torso is upright with your shoulders down and back—no hunching. Raise both arms in front of you to shoulder level for stability. Push your heels into the floor and use your leg muscles to stand up. Pause here for balance.

Return to sitting by pressing your hips down and back and leading with your legs. Keep your chest up and your back straight throughout the movement. If it helps, press your arms down and back as you sit. Repeat the movement.

Make it harder: Grab a light weight and hold it either in front of your chest or between your legs as you perform the exercise.

Sit-to-Stand Exercise #2: Stand with Legs Closer Together

Do 4 to 6 reps

How to do it: Sit in a sturdy chair with your feet close together, but not touching, and flat on the floor. Lift your chest and chin so your torso is upright with your shoulders down and back—no hunching. Raise both arms in front of you to shoulder level for stability. Push your heels into the floor and use your leg muscles to stand up. Pause here for a moment.

Return to sitting by pressing your hips down and back and leading with your legs. Keep your chest up and your back straight throughout the movement. If it helps, press your arms down and back as you sit. Repeat the movement.

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Make it easier: As you sit down, reach one hand behind you to help guide you to your seat.

Make it harder: Draw your feet closer together to challenge your balance.

Sit-to-Stand Exercise #3: Split Stance

Do 4 to 6 reps on each side

How to do it: Sit in a sturdy chair with your feet staggered, left foot slightly in front of the right, as if you’re ready to take your first stride. Lift your chest and chin so your torso is upright with your shoulders down and back—no hunching. Raise both arms in front of you to shoulder level for stability. Push your heels into the floor and use your leg muscles to stand up. Pause here for balance.

Return to sitting by pressing your hips down and back and leading with your legs. Keep your chest up and your back straight throughout the movement. If it helps, press your arms down and back as you sit. Switch your feet, then repeat the movement.

Make it harder: Add a rolling motion as you push up with your legs. Press your shoulders back and then pull them forward for extra momentum.

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