Getting into and out of a chair is something we tend to take for granted. However, desk based workers are at risk of reduced leg strength due to hours spent sitting at the computer. We decided to look at exercises designed to help maintain your leg strength and reduce the risk of muscle wasting in older age.
So in this set of exercises you will be working on quad and buttock strength, and core control.
First, stand with your feet hip width apart. Draw in your abs and pull your pelvic floor up without tightening into your hips. It’s really important to be able to do this whilst breathing regularly.
Start by bending your knees, making sure the knees remain in line, over your toes and that your bottom doesn’t stick out. One of the problems we see is the knees knocking together which means you’ve twisted the leg in the hip socket.
Once you ‘re happy with the stability of the knee and hip whilst bending the knees, you can repeat the movement whilst sticking your bottom out. To do this properly you will also need to make sure your abs are pulled in and your pelvic floor is pulled up. Keep checking your knees are over
your toes and not knocking together.
Try to take 4 counts to bend the knees with the bottom out, and 4 counts to recover. Repeat at least 10 times. As you get more proficient, you can bend the knees further and stick your bottom out further. Just remember to keep your abs in and pelvic floor engaged.
You can make it harder by holding your arms out in front of you, thereby changing the weight distribution.
As your technique improves, you can test your leg strength by trying to sit down and get up from a chair without resting your hands on the desk. So, make sure the chair is stable. Step back until you can feel the chair against your legs. Engage your abs and pelvic floor, bend your knees and lean forward, sticking your bottom out. Use your thigh strength to gently sit down onto the chair without collapsing.
Getting up from the chair is much the same only in reverse. Shift your bottom forward so you are towards the front edge of the chair. Engage your core and lean forward slightly so your bottom sticks out. Push up using your quads and buttock muscles. The idea is to be able to do this without using your hands to push you up.
We all think we will never need to practice getting into and out of a chair. We think we are invincible. But our computer/desk based lifestyle means we are running the risk of reduced leg strength.
As we mature, muscle mass and leg strength naturally reduces. So consider how weak we will be in older age if we haven’t paid attention to maintaining/improving our leg strength when we’re younger!