You don’t have to be elderly to have trouble standing up from a sitting position. There are numerous conditions that can affect movement, including your ability to rise from a chair or the floor; indeed, the chances are that, if you are reading this, you already know about at least one of them. Perhaps the most important advice anyone can offer is not to give up trying or to assume that difficult equals impossible. With the right sort of exercise and a few changes of routine – which we will discuss in detail below – many people will find they can manage without any additional aids (of course, some may still need further assistance and, for those, there is a range of comfortable and stylish rise and recline chairs available that could help).
How to improve your strength for standing after sitting
Talk to your doctor
Difficulty in standing from sitting could, in some cases, be a temporary issue (such as while undergoing treatment after an injury or illness) and is something which can be managed with the right kind of exercise and correcting one’s posture. No matter how out of shape we are, a regular routine of suitable exercise can improve matters no end. If you can get professional advice via your GP or from a qualified physiotherapist, so much the better, because they will tailor your exercises to your unique needs.
Exercise in your chair
While sitting in a chair, try to work your calf muscles by moving your ankles up and down. Then, while sitting up straight and holding onto the sides of the chair, slowly ‘march’ your feet by lifting the thighs up. Try to lift a little higher each time. Straighten one leg by raising a foot off the floor and try to hold it for a count of five. Aim to repeat each exercise five times regularly. If you find it easy, increase the number of repetitions.
Choose a suitable chair
When getting up from a sitting position, you may find a change of chair will help. Make sure your chair is strong and won’t tip easily. It helps if there are solid armrests for you to push against and if the seat is high enough to begin with. A very soft cushioned sofa may be nice to snuggle down onto, but it makes getting up more difficult.
Take care rising and sitting
Place your feet under your centre of gravity by shifting your body forwards until you are near the edge of the seat. Place your hands firmly on the armrests and lean forward a little, pushing up with your arms to reduce the strain on your knees and thigh muscles. Make sure you are secure and balanced before moving off. When you need to sit back down, make sure the backs of your legs are touching the front of the chair and, while holding onto the armrests, gently lower yourself down. Don’t be afraid to take your time.
What are common causes of trouble standing up after sitting?
The first thing to say here is that you should not rely on this article in any way as a diagnostic aid. If you have trouble standing up from a sitting position, this may potentially be just one of several symptoms that could be indicative of a wide range of conditions. You should always consult your doctor or a specialist medical professional if you are in any doubt.
Many people do simply have difficulty because of their advancing years, after some form of injury or due to weight gain – there does not have to be an underlying, ongoing medical condition. There are, however, plenty of conditions which can make movement, including getting up from a chair, difficult:
- Parkinson’s disease involves a slow degeneration of brain tissues which can lead to tremors, muscle stiffness and slow movement.
- Similarly, multiple sclerosis is a degenerative condition affecting the brain and nerves, resulting in problems with vision, sensation, movement and balance.
- Arthritis, of which the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, is usually associated with pain, swelling and stiffness in joints, which inevitably will lead to difficulty in standing up from a sitting position.
- Myositis is an inflammation of the muscles, the most common types being polymyositis and dermatomyositis, which can cause muscle weakness, painful or aching muscles, tripping or falling and extreme tiredness after walking or standing.
- Another condition affecting the muscles is polymyalgia rheumatica, which usually affects the neck, shoulders and hips – the latter being especially likely to cause trouble standing up from a sitting position.
- A relatively rare condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome affects the connective tissues, typically triggering excessive joint movement, which can make standing up from a sitting position difficult when it causes joints to dislocate unexpectedly.
- The effects of a stroke or heart condition can have a profound effect on a person’s ability to get up from a chair, as can many forms of cancer, back problems and illnesses such as Lyme disease.
- Lastly, certain medicines and treatments such as chemotherapy can leave a patient exhausted, making standing up a serious challenge.
Mobility aids to assist in getting up from a chair
For some, no amount of exercise is going to prevent the need for additional assistance, and for many, the convenience and comfort of a rise and recline chair will hold a strong appeal. These solidly built armchairs will recline at the push of a button to your preferred position, and when you need to get up, the seat can be raised until you are almost fully standing, making the whole process trouble free. There are dual motor versions which will allow you to adjust the leg rest independently of the back, which is great for watching TV. All models are available in a range of colours and fabrics and, even better, you can also get matching two or three-seat sofas, so your chair doesn’t look out of place in a family setting. Additional extras include heating and massage functions and a feature that remembers your favourite sitting position.