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By Mary Ann Wilson,RN

The simple act of moving from a seated position to a standing position requires the cooperation of several muscle groups working together. Pelvic mobility, trunk control, sensation in the feet, core and leg strength, as well as lower body flexibility, all contribute to maintaining this functional sit to stand skill. The following exercises will help train your body to accomplish this movement with ease. Remember to begin each exercise with good posture.

Pelvic Mobility

Starting position – seated

  • Imagine that you are sitting on a large clock.
  • Circle your hips all the way around the chair, trying to touch each of the numbers on the clock.
  • Circle 3 times to the right. Reverse direction and circle 3 times to the left.


Back Extension

Starting position – seated or standing

  • Place hands on the small of the back with fingertips pointing toward each other.
  • Lift the chest; gently pull elbows back and put a tiny arch in the back.
  • Release and repeat the exercise 2 more times.


Ankle Dorsiflexion

Starting position – seated

  • Lift one foot slightly off the floor.
  • Flex the ankle, then point the toes. Do this 3 times.
  • Repeat the exercise with the other foot.


Feet Sensation Stimulator

Starting position – seated

  • Rest feet flat on the floor.
  • Wiggle the toes several times.
  • Alternately lift the toes and balls of the feet up and down several times.
  • Alternately lift the heels up and down several times.
  • Rock one foot from heel to toes several times, making firm contact with floor each time. Repeat other foot.


Torso Strengthener

Starting position – seated

  • Walk forward in your chair until you are close to the edge of the chair, alternately lifting the hips and thighs each time.
  • Walk all the way back in the chair again lifting hips and thighs until your spine touches the back of the chair. The object of this exercise is to actually lift the hips to create the movement. Avoid scooting or sliding along the chair surface.
  • Repeat the exercise moving forward and back 3 times.


Sit to Stand Back/Leg Strengthener

Starting position – seated

  • Sit at the edge of the chair with feet flat on the floor and slightly under the chair.
  • Rock forward and back 3 times.
  • Repeat rocking 3 more times, pressing the heels into the floor each time you rock forward.
  • As you rock forward and press your heels into the floor, lift your bottom off the chair. Push with your legs and come to a semi-standing position. Slowly return to the seated position.  Repeat the same sit to stand movement except this time stand all the way up.
  • Repeat this sit to stand exercise 3-10 times daily as tolerated.


Related Blogs:

Rise Up: Tips To Make Standing Up From a Seated Position Easy

Abdominal Exercises In A Chair

Sink Exercises for Leg Strengthening and Balance

Recommended DVDs:

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  1. I was disappointed when looking for a TV Channel to find Sit and Be Fit. My TV Channel is Channel 8 and the program is listed as being shown at 5:30 A.M. Who is up at that time unless they have a job that requires it or that person has not been able to sleep all night.?

    Do not show my name or e-mail address, please.

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      Be sure to give your station a call and let them know you would like the program aired at a more reasonable time! We have no control over when stations air Sit and Be Fit. We offer the series to all PBS stations for free and it is up to the Program Manager at each station to decide if, when and how often they will make the program available in your community. Let you voice be heard:) In the world of PBS, viewer feedback really makes a difference. Wishing you the very best!

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