Find Your Place: The Sit-to-Stand Challenge

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

In just 30 seconds, you’ll learn important information about your lower-body strength—and your risk of falls.

How many times can you sit and stand from a chair in 30 seconds? In this video, SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack explains how this quick—but important—test can give you clues about your lower-body strength and endurance.

You’ll need a regular, sturdy chair with a seat that’s about 17 inches high. Try the test now, then see what your results mean below. If you’re not able to sit and stand on your own power safely, skip the test, but check out the tips below.

If You Did 19 or More Reps

That’s a sign your lower-body strength and endurance are above average. The benefits: You’re making it easier to keep up with all the activities you love, whether it’s going on day trips with friends, playing pickleball at the community center, or even competing in your local Senior Games.

Stay strong for the long haul by progressing beyond the sit-to-stand and mastering the bodyweight squat. It’s also a good idea to mix in other lower-body exercises for a strong foundation.

If You Did 10 to 18 Reps

That’s a sign your lower-body strength and endurance are in the average range. In general, someone in their 60s or 70s will likely have a higher score than someone in their 80s or 90s. You’ll want to stay as strong as you are now—and get stronger if you can.

In addition to being a test, the sit-to-stand is also one of the best exercises you should do every day. Find it easier to exercise with others? SilverSneakers classes can help you improve your lower-body strength as well as overall fitness.

If You Did 9 Reps or Fewer

That’s a sign your lower-body strength and endurance are below average—and a red flag that you’re at higher risk of falls. But that doesn’t mean you should live in fear of falling or avoid activity. In fact, improving your strength and balance through exercise can help you gain confidence in how you move each day.

It’s smart to talk to your doctor about your current health and your risk of falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Let your doctor know if:

  • You’ve fallen in the past year
  • You feel unsteady when standing or walking
  • You worry about falling

Plus, check out these steps you can take to prevent falls at home.

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If You Felt Any Pain or Have Previously Fallen

Pain during movement is a sign to talk to your doctor. They’ll want to make sure there is no underlying injury or need for treatment. They can also help you find the right fitness plan for you. Ask these three 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? For example, people with osteoporosis or Parkinson’s disease may need to take extra steps to protect themselves against falls.

If you’ve previously fallen, you’ll want to work with your doctor to get back to safe movement. Ask these six questions.

Need some inspiration? Check out this story about a SilverSneakers member who fell on concrete several times—but regained her fitness through strength training and yoga.

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SilverSneakers gives you free, unlimited access to more than 15,000 gyms and fitness centers across the nation, plus classes and tools designed to keep older adults strong and independent. Check your eligibility instantly here. Already a member? Get your SilverSneakers member ID and exclusive content by logging in to or creating your online account here.

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