Keeping our independence as we age is important to many of us… and one of the keys to maintaining that independence is through confidently standing up from the ground.
Written by: Coach Todd
It’s been the butt of the joke for everyone under 50… the age-old phrase, “I’ve fallen and can’t get up!” always gets a chuckle out of the younger generation. However, for many older individuals — especially those struggling with joint pain — not being able to get up from the ground can be a real worry.
One minute, we’re down on the ground playing with our grandkids… the next, we suddenly notice we can’t get up as easily as before.
Or maybe we’ve knelt down on the floor to do some stretches, but now we’re not too sure we’ll be able to get up without hurting anything.
It’s a scary thought that too many of us have throughout the day.
The Important Muscles That Will Help You Get Up From the Floor
Now, before we talk about how to correctly get up from the floor, we must first know what muscles are used during the process. These muscles help to drive us upward, resisting gravity and straightening our legs, hips, and spine. Some may even surprise you:
- Glutes: also known as you “butt muscles,” glutes help to extend your hips forward
- Back Muscles: reaching from your spine connecting your back to your glutes and shoulders, these muscles keep the joints in your spine stable and healthy while standing
- Hamstrings: the muscles connecting your glutes to your knee help to bend your legs and stretch out to help you stand tall.
- Core Muscles: what many traditionally think of as “abs” actually extends from the front side of your midsection all the way around to your back and down to your legs to keep your entire body stable through motion.
All of these muscles work together systematically to not only help you move around every day but to get up from difficult positions, such as lying on the ground. So, what steps are next in going from lying… to standing?
The Lunge Method: How to Safely Get Up From The Floor
This simple movement method will take you step-by-step through getting up off the ground without pain. Whether on your back or stomach, there is always a way to get where you want to be: STANDING TALL AGAIN!
Get to Your Bottom
Roll whichever direction you feel comfortable in order to shift to your side. Take your top arm, and place your hand on the ground, and push up to a sitting position.
Pull Your Feet to the Side and Underneath You
A lot of times when people are on the ground they are on their bottom and try to get up directly from that position. However, very few have the strength to do so. Instead, pull your feet up towards your butt, just outside your hips. This ensures your “base” is underneath you.
Get Onto Your Hands and Knees
Crawl your hands forward out in front of yourself until you are on your hands and knees. If using your legs to assist you with this, make sure to lead with the strongest leg.
Pull Your Stronger Leg Forward
Bring the foot of your strongest leg up next (or close to) the same sided hand. This will help put you into a lunge position for the final steps.
Put Your Hands on Your Forward Leg
Raise your hands off the ground, find your balance, then place your hands on the mid-thigh of that forward leg.
Push Up on Your Leg to Stand
Push some of your weight onto your thigh (make sure to avoid applying excess pressure on the knee joint itself) to help bring the behind leg up to meet your forward leg… extending both legs until you are finally in a standing position.
Fall Prevention Exercises
While knowing how to get up off the floor with bad knees is critical for any possible future situation, we should also take some preventative measures to mitigate the risk of ever falling! Try the following exercises to strengthen our balance and “stand-up muscles.”
Lie on the floor or bed with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor/bed. Gently squeeze your butt muscles to lift your hips off the ground, feeling a nice stretch in your front thigh, and a contraction in the back of your thigh. Lower your hips back down to the starting position.
Repeat 5 times.
From a standing position, step back with your right leg and slowly lower your back knee a few inches. Raise your back knee up by straightening your front leg, then return to the starting position.
Repeat 5 times with each leg.
Stand with your back against a wall and step your feet forward about 6 inches. Slowly lower yourself into a squat position, keeping your back pressed against the wall. Hold this position for 10-seconds, and then stand.
Repeat 3 times.
Standing to the side of a chair, lift one leg — bending at the knee — to balance. Hold the chair if needed. Pull our knee and toe up to help activate and strengthen the hamstring (back thigh) muscles. Start by holding for 10 seconds and work up to 30 seconds.
Repeat twice on each leg.
Seated Pelvic Tilts with Ab Squeeze
Sitting on the edge of a chair, stand tall, and draw your belly button into your spine.
Take a deep breath, with your abs braced, and gently push your hips back (decreasing the arch in the low back). Hold this position for 5 seconds.
Repeat 5 times.
Try each of these exercises to help prevent future falls and gain the ability to confidently stand up from the ground.
But, if you want to know more about how to prevent falls, CLICK HERE to join our 30-Day Fall Prevention Challenge!