Being able to rise from a chair is paramount for independent living and is strongly influenced by the ability of the lower limbs to exert mechanical power. This study assessed minimal thresholds of lower-limb relative muscle power required to perform the sit-to-stand (STS) task in older adults and its association with mobility limitations and disability.
A total of 11,583 older adults (age: 60−103 years old) participated in this investigation. The 5-rep and 30-s versions of the STS test were used to assess chair rising ability. Relative power was calculated by the STS muscle power test. The minimum thresholds of power required to perform the STS tests were derived from the minimum values (i.e. ‘floor’ effect) reported in the power tests through regression analyses. Mobility limitations and disability in activities of daily living (ADL) were recorded.
For the average older man and woman, the thresholds to complete five STS repetitions were 1.1 and 1.0 W·kg-1, respectively, while the thresholds to complete one STS repetition were 0.3 W·kg-1 in both sexes. These thresholds increased linearly with height (5- and 1-rep, respectively: +0.13 and + 0.03 W·kg-1 per 10-cm increase; both p < 0.001), and did not differ by sex or testing condition (both p ≥ 0.259). All participants with relative power below the 5-rep threshold presented mobility limitations and 51 − 56% of women and 36 − 49% of men also showed disability in ADL (all χ2 ≥ 290.4; p < 0.001).
A minimum level of relative muscle power is required to rise from a chair independently, which depends on the individual height and is associated with increased mobility limitations and disability. This information will help interpret data yielded by the STS muscle power test and may contribute to the prevention and treatment of mobility limitations in older people.