Not only is the ability to get down on the floor and stand up again practically useful, it turns out that this humble little movement is a useful measure of how long you might live!
[Part 2 of 3 is inspired by learning from Katy Bowman about the importance of being able get down on the floor and up again with grace and ease … for your ENTIRE LIFE! See: Dynamic Aging – LINK and Move Your DNA – LINK ]
A 2012 study followed 2002 volunteers (men and woman aged 51-80years for 6-years). Each person performed a simple movement test: sit down on the ground without using your hands, arms or knees for assistance and then get back up again -without using hands, arms or knees for assistance.
Like all good tests you get points for performance!
5-points for getting down to the floor without wobbles or using hands, arms or knees for support and 5-points for getting back up again in style. A perfect 10. Just like Nadia Comaneci!
If you leant on a body part you lost a point. Use a body part to get up, lose a point. Look wobbly? Lose half a point. The best of the best scored 10 and the worst of the worst got … nada!
Over the 6-year study 159 people died (for various reason). And the interesting thing for the study was this: the deceased had the lowest test scores!
One of the observations from the study was that those with the lowest scores were 7-times more likely to die than their more nimble colleagues.
So was there a correlation between the low test scores and an earlier death?
Anyone for an eye for statistics and research can readily pick the eyes out of this study, but before you dismiss the findings outright consider this.
We know that aerobic fitness is a useful indicator that is strongly related to survival. Not a guarantee. An indicator. A health marker that when absent, ie., having poor aerobic fitness, is a relevant risk factor for all manner of health diseases.
So what about indicators like flexibility, muscular strength and coordination? Are these things useful health markers just like aerobic fitness? Useful indicators of life expectancy?
“You bet they are!”
As it happens, the humble (and not so simple) movement test of getting down on the floor and up again actually requires a fairly thigh degree of musculoskeletal fitness to do well: flexibility, balance, muscular strength and coordination.
Arguably, all relevant factors for survival.
Better balance; less likely to fall off that ladder. Better core strength; less likely to tear something while lifting a weight. More dynamic agility; better able to jump out of the way of a careening car or an errant cyclist!*
So I have a question for you? How well can you do the test?
Give it a go right NOW!
Was it easy! 10-points. You rock! Never lose this ability and even better, your chances of still being alive in 6-years are pretty good. Says the test.
Hard? Impossible? Hmmm. I don’t want to be the pessimist in the room but if this absence of musculoskeletal fitness is a fixable thing for you then the study suggests that it would be in your best interest to do something about it.
And how do you do that?
Easy! Sit on the floor more! And find opportunities to get down on the floor and up again. Any old way you can. Multiple times a day. Every second day of the week. At least.
And why not?
It’s free. You can do it anywhere. You don’t need any equipment or a trainer. And when this movement pattern is done in an ‘exercise’ program, this ‘transition’ (fancy name we give to ground-to-stand movement patterns) is one of the best whole-body workouts going.
In Rewilding training we have a million versions of getting down and standing up because it’s just so vital to good functional fitness.
I put it to you that ground-to-stand transitions, like knowing how to fall (and crawl … another story) is fundamentally important to the enjoyment and longevity of your life.
It’s such an essential and necessary movement skill that you actually started working on it a very VERY long time ago.
What is the game ‘Duck Duck Goose’ but a ground-to-stand transition workout par-excellence!
I’ve watched thousands of children play this game for years and trust me, kids are expert in spontaneous ground-to-stand-transitions.
So why aren’t you?
Because like the humble squat (more on that latter), as we age, and ever so slowly, the ground-to-stand transition starts to fade out of our movement repertoire.
In fact, it’s highly likely that your ability to nimbly move from ground-to-stand and back again started disappearing the day you stopped playing ‘Duck, Duck, Goose!’
The Sit Down Stand Up Test referred to in this BLOG was published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology in 2012.
Damien Norris is the senior whole-body movement coach at The Wilding Project (LINK), Perth Western Australia. Recently featured in TEDxPerth (LINK), Damien teaches children, young people, adults and seniors how to MOVE!
Olympic Fun & Fitness and The Wilding Project like Rewilding is dedicated to a movement rich life. Programs like Gymnastics, GymFIT, FootyEDGE, Parkour, Workplace Athletes, Active Agers and more all follow a simple philosophy, “Learn to move well and then NEVER stop.”
*Not all cyclists are ‘errant’. I soooooo love the bike. And I like almost all cyclists.