How’s your lower body’s range of motion? This quick test can let you know.
Can you sit in a chair and reach your toes? In this video, SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack, explains how the chair sit and reach test can give you clues about your lower-body flexibility.
You’ll need a sturdy chair and a ruler or tape measure. Try the test now, then see what your results mean below. If you have osteoporosis or can’t bend forward safely, skip the test, but check out the tips below.
If Your Score Is 0 or Above
This means you were able to reach your toes—or even stretch past them. That’s a sign you have good lower-body flexibility and range of motion. Why that’s great: You likely have less pain and tension in your legs as you go about your daily activities.
Your goal now: Maintain or increase your range of motion with regular stretching. Watch a video and get a free download of four stretches you should do every day.
Yoga is also a great way to improve flexibility, build strength, and ease stress all in one workout. Check out this seven-minute yoga flow for older adults.
If Your Score Is 0 to -2
This means you were able to reach within 4 inches of your toes. That’s a sign you have some room for growth.
Does that mean you need to work on contorting yourself into a pretzel? Not at all. The key is to start incorporating flexibility exercises into your routine and improve over time. See what other stretching myths you need to stop believing.
A fun way to work on your range of motion, strength, and balance all at the same time: SilverSneakers classes. It’s easier to stay motivated when moving to music and with the support of fellow classmates!
If Your Score is -2.5 or Below, or You Felt Pain
This means the closest you could reach was about 4.5 inches within your toes—or you could reach farther but it didn’t feel good. That’s a sign your lower-body flexibility is an area of concern.
The great news is you’re learning this now rather than later, and there are many different ways you can stretch. Check out this 11-minute chair flow.
It may also be a sign to talk to your doctor. There’s usually a reason why you’re in pain and something that can be done about it. To make your conversation easier, jot down your symptoms:
- Where you are experiencing the pain
- When the pain started and how often it occurs
- Any other symptoms you are experiencing
If You Have Osteoporosis or Can’t Bend Forward Safely
You’ll want to stay as active and flexible as you can if you have osteoporosis, but it’s important to discuss with your doctor which moves are safe for you and which ones you should avoid. Check out these four rules for exercising with osteoporosis.
If you have a condition or an injury that limits movement, working with your doctor can help you start or resume activity safely. Ask these questions:
- What types of exercise are appropriate for me?
- How often and how much should I do them?
- Are there precautions or steps I should take?
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