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Do you need to exercise to stand easily?

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

Mastering the Bear Walk to Stand: Rise from the Floor with Ease and Grace!



Demonstration of Deep abdominal and upper body strengthening combined with mobility and flexibility exercises
Deep abdominal and upper body strengthening in addition to lower body strengthening, mobility and flexibility exercises are important


Practicing the Bear Walk To Stand method can be beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels to improve their ability at rising from the floor.


Rising from the floor with ease and grace is crucial to maintain our independence and mobility, to make the most out of and enjoy life as we age gracefully.

Whether you're recovering from an injury, surgery, managing a disability or simply age-related changes, improving your functional abilities by practicing the correct method and exercises to improve ease of floor to stand makes a significant difference.


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Why use the Bear Walk To Stand Method?


In this blog post, we will explore the Bear Walk To Stand Technique for rising from the floor, standing up from hands and feet on the floor in a wide stance, breaking down this technique and the specific Bear Walk To Stand functional exercises you should practice to help you to achieve this goal.


Bear Walk To Stand Technique is easier if you have balance problems as your base of support is larger than with the lunge to stand technique.

Another benefit is less knee bend is required, so it is achievable for those with knee stiffness from arthritis or total knee replacements.


However more hamstring flexibility is required than the lunge to stand or low squat sit to stand methods.



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What is the Bear Walk To Stand Method?


See the video and explanation below.


Why do we need to improve Floor To Stand Method?


It's essential to improve this movement for better mobility and functionality to be able to rise from the floor with ease and grace to picnic in the park with family and friends, play on the floor with Grandchildren and take part in hobbies, pilates, yoga and fitness classes confidently.


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  1. Benefits of the Bear Walk to Stand:


  • It’s important to incorporate bear walk to stand into your daily routine to improve ease of movement and maintain strength, flexibility and mobility.


  • Daily repetition enhances flexibility and strength in muscles, joint mobility, and balance, important to improve and maintain this vital function and for general health, functional fitness, wellbeing and longevity.





2. Preparatory Stretches and Warm-Up Exercises:

  • It is important to warm up before attempting the bear walk to stand to avoid pulled muscles and joint injuries. A brisk walk to warm up the muscles and improve blood flow to joints and muscles, followed by the gentle mobility and flexibility exercises will help top avoid injuries.

  • See example stretches and mobility exercises in the video below to prepare your body.

3. Step-by-Step Guide:


Watch the video attached below:


Bear Walk To Stand Method and Exercise Demonstrations focusing on Bodyweight Exercises


From sitting on the floor, transfer your weight onto one buttock, take your feet to the other side, lean forwards and place your hands on the floor out in front of you, taking the weight onto your hands so you can lift your knees off the floor, with your toe pads on the floor, feet wide and knees bent as much as you require, if you are tight in your hamstrings and/or your lower back.


Walk your hands along the floor towards your feet, bringing your weight back into your heels, then walk your hands up one at a time above your knees, then up your thighs, as you stand up.


4. Common Mistakes to Avoid:


Make sure you maintain neutral spine, hinge from your hips and engage your pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles, to avoid straining your back. Bend your knees enough that you can avoid flexing your lower back and walk your hands up your legs to provide assistance and place less strain on your back.


5. Fitness Progressions and Modifications:


  • If it’s currently too hard to get up from the floor using the bear walk to stand method due to decreased mobility or if you have injuries or lower back pain, place a sturdy box or chair in front of you and use your hands on the surface to help you up.


  • You can practice using the bear walk method to walk your hands down your legs and out along the floor to sit down and the box or chair to help you to get back up, until you are strong enough to rise without the box or chair.


  • Strengthening your lower body, core, and upper body muscles through the exercises in the video such as squats,, step ups, planks, and resistance training can significantly improve your functional abilities.


Demonstration of Planks for abdominal and upper body strength and balance exercise
Planks for abdominal and upper body strength and balance are important to rise from the floor with ease and grace

  • If the bear walk to stand method is easy use less assistance with your hands and arms but focus on maintaining neutral spine, pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscle engagement to avoid lower back injury.


  • Your next progression would be to try the lunge to stand method discussed in my previous blog post:


This is more of a balance challenge and requires more knee bend.


Then you could next try Low Squat Sit to Stand method, see my previous blog post:



This method requires even more knee and hip mobility and leg strength.


6. Incorporating Balance and Stability:


  • Improving balance and stability can enhance the gracefulness of the movement.


  • Balance exercises and core stability exercises in the video attached will assist.


7. Repetition and Consistency:


  • It is important to keep up a regular practice, ideally with a daily mobility routine a minimum of 3 days a week to improve the bear walk to stand.


  • The more consistently you practice the more quickly you will improve and achieve better results with a more efficient and graceful execution.


8. Flexibility And Mobility Training Tips:


  • Improved mobility of hip, knee and ankle joints and flexibility in hamstring, glute, (buttock) and calf muscles with assist with performing the bear walk to stand with ease.


Demonstration of yoga lotus pose Yoga Pose to help to improve mobility and flexibility in hips and knees
Yoga Poses can help to improve mobility and flexibility in hips and knees to make it easier to rise with ease and grace

  • Practice the flexibility routines and mobility exercises to complement your training, preferably as a daily mobility routine, or a minimum of 3 times each week.


9. Real-Life Applications:


  • Mastering the bear walk to stand has been an essential skill for my client Heather, who has had both her knees replaced at the same time and couldn’t bend her knees enough or kneel on the to be able to manage the other floor to stand techniques. Heather’s regular practice including hamstring, glute and calf stretches, hip and spine mobility and core stability have made it possible for Heather to stand from the floor with ease and grace and has allowed Heather to attend pilates twice every week, getting up and down off the floor efficiently, play golf weekly with her friends, picking up her golf balls confidently and attend ical events requiring sitting on a picnic mat, stress free.


  • Mastering Bear Walk To Stand has improved Heather’s functional fitness and made her daily activities easier, including her housework, socialising and hobbies.


10. Safety and Injury Prevention:


  • Follow the safety tips in number 4. above: Common Mistakes to Avoid:

Make sure you maintain neutral spine and engage your pelvic floor and deep core muscles to avoid straining your back. Bend your knees enough that you can avoid flexing your lower back and walk your hands up your legs to provide assistance and place less strain on your back. to prevent injuries during bear walk to stand practice.


  • Remember these exercises have not been prescribed specific to you, as an assessment would be required to provide you with a specific program for your unique needs, so please omit any exercises which feel painful or concerning to you. They should be challenging but not cause any joint pain.


  • If you have poor balance use a space with a soft floor or mat and no obstructions you could fall on and injure yourself. Work with a wall or secure furniture close that you could reach for to steady yourself if necessary.


  • With mobility, flexibility and balance exercises aim to hold the example exercises for 20-30 seconds and repeat twice on each side for single leg exercises.


  • With the strength exercises aim for 10-12 repetitions on each or both legs and complete 3-4 sets of each exercise, with a short break of around 30 seconds between each set.


  • Once the strength exercises are becoming easier you can increase the depth of the movement, and/or add light weights initially, progressing to heavier weights gradually, to challenge you more and become stronger, as long as you experience no joint pain, only muscle challenge.


  • Consult with a fitness professional or Physiotherapist if you are unsure, struggling to get up following the advice above, or suffering with joint pain.



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Conclusion:


Incorporate the functional movement patterns, using the bear walk to stand practice and exercises, into your regular fitness routine for improved mobility, flexibility, balance strength and grace, to rise from the floor easily and combat the effects of ageing.


It’s time to start using the provided tips and techniques in your long term health and fitness journey.


If you would like support from others embarking on a similar training program to assist you to stand from the floor with ease and grace, please join our community, clicking the link below:


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Let me know how did you go? 👋


How challenging is the bear to stand technique for you?


What do you notice you need to work on the most? Your strength, mobility, flexibility or balance?

Which was your favourite exercise and why?


Which was your least favourite exercise and why?


Any questions? 🙋‍♀️

Comment below 👇

Follow my End Physio Health & Fitness Blog for more tips to combat ageing, injuries, chronic illness & disabilities 😍


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Emma Najman, Longevity, Oncology Rehab & NDIS Registered Provider Physiotherapist, Pilates Instructor & Yoga Therapist
Emma Najman, Longevity, Oncology Rehab & NDIS Registered Provider Physiotherapist, Pilates Instructor & Yoga Therapist

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Additional Resources:


“Get up from the floor more easily”, https://www.vintagefitness.ca/blog/2018/07/06/get-up-from-the-floor-more-easily, by Erin Billowits


“Six exercises to make getting up from the floor feel easier”, The Hamilton Spectator, https://www.thespec.com/life/health-wellness/2018/11/07/six-exercies-to-make-getting-up-from-the-floor-easier.html, by Ernie Schramayr


“The biomechanics of healthy older adults rising from the floor independently”, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/4/3507, by Elissa Burton, Keith D. Hill, Paul Davey, Yoke Leng Ng and Sian A. Williams


“Effect of a 12-week Yoga intervention on fear of falling and balance in older adults: a pilot study”, Arch Phys Med Rehabil Vol 91, April 2010, Arlene A. Schmid, PhD, OTR, Marieke Van Puymbroek, PhD, CTRS, David M. Koceja, PhD


“Are interventions effective in improving the ability of older adults to rise from the floor independently? A mixed method systematic review”, Disability and Rehabilitation: https://www.tandfonline/loi/idre20, Elissa Burton, Kaela Farrier, Gill Lewin, Mark Petrich, Eileen Boyle and Keith D. Hill


“Getting up from the floor. Determinants and techniques among healthy older adults”, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/iptp20, Richard W. Bohannon & Michelle M. Lusardi

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