Get Up and Go: Can You Stand Up Without Using Your Hands?

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This skill says more about you than you might think.

Longtime Katie Couric Media readers are familiar with the approachable-yet-energizing workout strategies from Ashley Patten. She’s Katie’s personal Pilates instructor, so naturally we’ve repeatedly picked her brain about all things movement and fitness. Inspired partly by some of Katie’s favorite regimens, she’s given us advice on how to stretch our hips (perfect for WFH warriors who spend the workday seated), how to stretch before a workout, how to stretch to improve posture, and the best ab exercises to relieve back pain. You can easily integrate Patten’s routines into your daily life to gradually change the way your body feels. We love that her instructions are clear and that her exercises are challenging — without being so intense that you burn yourself out.

In her latest video tutorial, Patten addresses an oft-ignored skill that might sound pretty simple but is actually relevant to overall health: Sitting down and standing up without relying on your hands for help.

“It may seem kind of silly,” Patten says. “You might say, ‘Of course I don’t need to use my hands.’ But many people struggle with it, and it’s a skill that becomes more and more important as you age.”

In fact, the way that you both lower yourself and rise from the floor, a chair, or the toilet indicates a lot about your body. According to Livestrong, relying on your hands to sit and stand may mean that you have limited mobility and flexibility, weak core muscles, or that you need to work on full-body strength. According to Prevention, researchers have argued that one’s ability to sit and stand without their hands can even predict longevity.

If you struggle with this challenge, don’t panic: Patten’s exercises can help you strengthen your muscles to ensure that you feel your best. So clear some space in your living room, press play, and get some quick movement in before (or after) you go about your busy day.