Getting up and down: could this be the best exercise you’ve ever done?
Let me start by asking you a question: what do you do if you fall?
Everyone has got up and down off the floor at some point in their lives; simply going down onto the floor and then standing back up again! For some athletes being able to get up and down quickly can be the difference between winning and losing, however for elderly people the stakes are slightly higher than just winning and losing!
An estimated 424,000 fatal falls occur every year.
This is most common in the elderly; it’s said that once over 65 you’ll have at least one fall a year. When you fall you risk breaking bones like wrists, arms, legs, hips, and dislocating shoulders, etc.
What do you do if you fall? Get back up.
What if you fall and injure yourself (wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee)? Well unless there’s help, most people would struggle to get back up.
What if you can’t get back up? You stay down.
In a Brazilian study by Physician Claudio Gil Araujo, De Brito, et al (2012), it was believed if you could sit down and stand up without the use of support (a score of 10), you were expected a longer life expectancy than participants with a lower score.
The study used 2,000 patients between the ages of 51-80. If you were able to sit down and stand up without the use of any support (hands, elbows, knees) and without losing your balance, you received the maximum score of 10. For every time support was used you would lose a point (1), and for every time you lost your balance you lost half a point (0.5). As a result, those participants with a score below 8 were found more likely to have fatality in the next six years, with the main causes of fatality being coronary heart disease and falls.
For every point increased in a participant’s score they were 21% less likely to have a fatality within next six years, therefore increasing their life expectancy. Is this enough to show that being stronger and mobile enough to get up and down off the floor is important? Not quite? Well, how about this:
There were 159 deaths during the study. Guess what they scored? Yes, you’re right – below 8!
Have I caught your attention now? You want to get better at standing up and sitting down? Good, because there are endless amounts of ways out there. You can do this!
Simply laying down and standing up, Turkish get ups, sandbag get ups, med ball get ups, baby get ups, cross over get ups, burpees, no handed burpees, and many more.
Now all of these exercises should be coached and done in the correct form, which goes without saying, but it’s disappointing and frustrating that some people perceive these exercises as “crazy”, “not good for any part of the body”, “stupid” or “pointless”. Perhaps these exercises are viewed in this way as they don’t conform to the public’s “normal” exercise bracket of monotonous gym machine treadmill-strolling, elliptical-pulling, exercise-bike-chaffing, bicep-curling or selfie-taking bulls**t! Influential Strength Coach Dan John once said, “How is the training you’re doing now going to affec
t you in 20 years’ time?” If you’re doing monotonous “normal” gym exercises, the chances are that it’s not.
Now let me tell you about someone who I find one of the most inspirational women I know, and an example of why you should do these exercises. She’s in her early 70s and is a client, she was told by her friends to just attend a gym, take it easy, be careful, rest, don’t do that, don’t do this, etc. Well she gave “normal” the middle finger and got stronger, fitter, more mobile, healthier, decreased pain and just more awesome in general! Before training she had chronic back pain, knee pain and low fitness levels… now she kicks ass! I know people in their 20s who wouldn’t be able to do the stuff that this lady does. On the ‘get up and down’ test when she started she was well below 8 and is now a solid 9 and still improving! The only problem that she has now is that her friends can’t keep up with her! They chose “normal”.
What’s the lesson here? Give “normal” the middle finger!
At a recent course I attended with Dr Perry Nickleston he said, “You can keep going down the normal path – it’s going to be a hell of a long journey and you’re going to keep walking in circles – or you can choose the crazy s**t path and that’s when the magic happens!”
I can personally see the difference in strength and ability in my clients at getting up and down off the floor and am confident that if they had a fall they would bounce back up!
So try to include these movements in your training somewhere, try to have a coach show you them but if not even laying down on your back and standing up can have a crazy effect and make you stronger and more kick ass awesome!
So let me ask once more; what do you do if you fall?
Claudio Gil Araujo, De Brito, et al (2012) “Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality”. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 21(7), p.p 892-898.