Standing from a chair

Standing from a chair

When considering difficulties with sitting and standing the first factor to consider is your technique. Ask for an assessment by a Physiotherapist if you are uncertain of the technique or if your weight is affecting your ability to stand/sit.

The following sequence of actions may help you to stand up:

  1. place your hands firmly on the front of the armrests
  2. lean forwards away from the back of the chair
  3. move your bottom to the edge of the seat either by shuffling forward by transferring weight from one buttock to the other, (think of the Can-Can) or by taking the weight through your arms and lifting your bottom;
  4. make sure your feet are apart by about the same width as your hips, one foot in line below the knee and the other slightly back nearer the chair (you will find this difficult if you have not moved to the edge of the chair or if chair has no space between the legs)
  5. bring your head and shoulders in line above your knees (nose over toes)
  6. lift your head to look straight ahead. This will increase your stability and reduces the amount and effort required.
  7. push with both arms and straighten your legs until you are in an upright position.

Sitting down

Try to follow this sequence:

  1. Position yourself so that you can feel the front of the chair seat with the back of your legs.
  2. distribute your weight evenly over both feet. Slightly bend at the hips and knees. Keep feeling for the seat with your legs as you sit down gently and feel for the armrests.
  3. If you need to move your bottom back, use the technique that is best for you (shuffling or lifting back), until you are supported by the back of the chair.

If you use a walking frame, remember to use the arms of the chair for standing up and sitting down. Do not be tempted to hold onto the frame, especially when standing up, as it may tip towards you. Only hold onto the walking frame handles once you are upright and feel ready to move.

If you have a choice which chair to use try one with:
- extended arms with a non-padded rounded area where you hands can get a good grip and support you as you stand
- space beneath the front of the chair which will allow your feet back increasing your upward thrust out of the chair.

Alternative equipment that may assist you with sitting and standing includes:

The suitability of the equipment will depend on your needs and the budget available.

For people with muscular dystrophy or other neuromuscular diseases an information leaflet is available from the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign on chairs to assist with sitting to standing.

If you would like further advice regarding issues with sitting to standing and questions relating to furniture then you could try the sitting and standing and chair sections of AskSARA. AskSARA is the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF)'s free online self assessment tool. AskSARA will ask you questions about yourself and your environment (in this instance sitting and standing, wanting to raise your legs) and then offer relevant advice, product suggestions and supplier details.
- AskSARA's sitting and standing section
- AskSARA's chair section

Advice last checked: 31 October 2014 Next check due: 31 October 2017

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
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