Your ability to walk, climb stairs, and stay active on your feet starts with the movement of taking a step. Are your hips up to the task?
Can you stand on one leg with your other knee parallel to the floor for 10 seconds? In this video, SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack, along with physical therapist Mark Greenwood, explains how this quick test can give you clues about the strength of your hip flexors—as well as the strength of your glutes and core.
You’ll need a sturdy chair or workout box. You may also want to perform this near a wall that you can hold on to if needed. Try the test now, then see what your results mean below. If you’re not able to stand on one foot safely, skip the test, but check out the tips below.
If You Were Able to Stand with Good Form for 10 Seconds on Each Leg
That’s a sign your hip flexors, glutes, and core are in good health. Specifically, it means they’re working together to keep you stable—and to power one of the most basic movement patterns: taking a step. It’s what allows you to walk, climb stairs, step over obstacles, and generally stay active.
If You Weren’t Able to Maintain Good Form, Couldn’t Hold for 10 Seconds, or Noticed a Big Difference Between Sides
That’s a sign you may have some muscle imbalances caused by weakness in the hip flexors, glutes, or core. That’s also a sign you may be at higher risk of falls, which are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in adults older than 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Your action plan: Shore up weak spots with strength exercises. SilverSneakers classes are a great way to improve total-body fitness with the guidance of an instructor. Plus, get inspired with these ideas:
- The Best and Worst Exercises for Bad Hips
- 4 Signs Your Glutes Are Too Weak (and 4 Exercises Than Can Help)
- 4 Signs Your Core Is Too Weak (and 4 Exercises That Can Help)
If You Have Balance Issues, Have Had Hip Replacement Surgery, or Weren’t Able to Take the Test
Afraid to move because you might fall or injure yourself? Or perhaps you’ve previously fallen or had surgery, but aren’t sure what’s safe for you. It turns out, staying as active as you can may be the best thing you do for your health—and your confidence. The key is working with your doctor to find the right plan for you.
Start by talking to your doctor about your current health and any medications you take. Ask these questions:
- Do I need additional medical treatment or physical therapy?
- When can I start exercising on my own again?
- What types of exercise are appropriate for me, and what types should I avoid? If you have osteoporosis, check out these four rules of exercising with osteoporosis.
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