When I kindly suggest that my friends and relatives might like to join me in an exercise program I generally hear that they worry about their knees and that they could never get up from the floor if they did get down there.
To start with, not all exercise programs require you to get down on the floor. Many exercises such as chair yoga, oxycise, and even aerobics have been designed or reworked so that you can do them from a sitting position. However, if this isn’t your cup of tea, let us at least talk about getting up from the floor.
Getting up off from the floor is something that you need to know how to do. This isn’t just about exercising; this is a criterion for independent living. What if you slip off the edge of a chair, or fall onto your knees as you reached for a dropped knitting needle, or try to find the shoe that slipped under the bed? There are a lot of reasons why you might end up on the floor and none of them are good, unless you are doing the “dead bug” yoga position.
If you have been exercising regularly you might already have a handle on getting down and up again from the floor, but if you haven’t it is something that you can learn. To start with, if you are afraid to exercise because you might have trouble getting up off from the floor, ask someone to exercise with you. You can help each other. Walter Ettinger, M.D. in his book “Fitness after 50” gives some salient tips for getting down on the floor and for getting back up.
- Use a sturdy chair that won’t tip over. Put the chair close to the wall if necessary, and stand next to it.
- Put your hands on the seat of the chair.
- Lower yourself down on one knee.
- Put the second knee down beside it.
- Put your left hand on the floor and support yourself on it as you lower your left hip to the floor. Straighten your legs out.
Lie on your left side and roll onto your back. See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Well duh, it is easy to get on the floor but what about getting up? Don’t be frightened, we are going to show you how to get back up (after you do your exercises) or after you have plotted so unceremoniously unto the floor.
- Roll onto your left side.
- Place your right hand on the floor level with your ribs in order to push your shoulders off the floor. Your weight will be on your left hip.
- Roll forward onto your knees, learning on both hands for support.
- Put your hands on the seat of your chair.
- Lift one leg so that the knee is bent with that foot flat on the floor.
Lean onto the chair and rise up from this position.
You can do these movements starting from the other side as well; use whichever is your strongest side. It may sound complicated but have someone stand by and walk you through the process. I just tried it a few minutes ago and it does work. You will feel more comfortable about exercising and about taking care of yourself if you can get up and down by yourself.