Gransnet forums


Bungalow legs.

(90 Posts)
kircubbin2000 Sun 07-Aug-22 11:27:50

I have been having some problems with my hip lately and have had to cut out some of my activities. However I got a shock yesterday while visiting my friend at her new house.As we had a look round she asked me if I would like to see the bedrooms upstairs. After 3 steps on her steep staircase I realised I was not going to make it and had to come down!

Caleo Sun 07-Aug-22 11:33:50

I can still go upstairs crawling, and then go downstairs in a backward crawl for safety, but I don't go upstairs much as it's so untidy and I have most of the stuff I need downstairs.

I'd not even try steep stairs like some old terrace houses have. Kirkubbin, did you try crawling ?

kircubbin2000 Sun 07-Aug-22 11:35:12

No, I felt I might fall but I will try some exercises later.

Witzend Sun 07-Aug-22 11:49:49

I’ve certainly heard of ‘bungalow knees’ before. My folks moved to a bungalow in their mid 60s, not because they particularly wanted one, but because it was all they could find in their chosen area.

After maybe 3 years though, they decided they didn’t like the area after all, and moved again, to a house - where they realised that a lack of stairs had seriously affected their fitness. (I do realise that they were lucky to have no real mobility problems.)

Their fitness did return, and my mother was still well able to manage stairs when she finally moved to a care home at 89 (dementia). I’m well aware that she was relatively extremely lucky, though.

Chestnut Sun 07-Aug-22 11:51:10

I live on the first floor so have to use stairs. They are getting harder though. I prefer living on the first floor as it's warmer and more secure than the ground floor.

cornergran Sun 07-Aug-22 11:55:26

A neighbour warned us about bungalow leg syndrome when we moved here 9years ago. Hadn’t occurred to us not having stairs would be a problem. So far we can still use them although we’re both slowing down! When out we use stairs and steps whenever we can, walk as much as energy allows. One son has only one toilet - upstairs. A real incentive to climb what can seem a mountain at times, but then stairs often seemed that way to me before we moved .

It’s a strange one. Some friends who live in houses seem to climb stairs easily while they struggle walking outside. It’s possible you’d struggle with stairs anyway kirkcubbin if your hip is an issue and you can do less generally. Hope you get help with the hip and can gradually rebuild strength. Horrible when day to day things we took for granted suddenly seem impossible

Calendargirl Sun 07-Aug-22 12:02:54

Surely if you move to a bungalow, one of the main reasons is that as we age, it makes sense to be on one floor?

How many older folk living in a house, short of having a stair lift installed, have to live on the ground floor, as they can no longer manage the stairs anyway.?

We moved to a bungalow 17 years ago, love it, and as for ‘bungalow legs/knees’, we try and use stairs whenever we can, in shops we avoid lifts and escalators, and just walk and try and keep active as much as possible.

Caleo Sun 07-Aug-22 12:06:50

I never before heard of Bungalow Legs and now I'm altered, I'll make more effort to crawl upstairs. I can walk but crawling is safer.

Witzend Sun 07-Aug-22 12:07:50

Of course a bungalow makes sense if you already have any mobility problems at all, Calendargirl, but my point was that people with no existing problems can find their fitness declining when they’re no longer up and down stairs a lot on a daily basis.
It had never occurred to my parents that this would happen.

Caleo Sun 07-Aug-22 12:07:55

I mean alerted. My key board is dyslexic.

nanna8 Sun 07-Aug-22 12:11:39

Going up and down our stairs is our main source of exercise. Most people here live in one storey houses and when they come to our house they find it difficult because they are not used to stairs. Gives us a small smug sense of well-being! During Covid and our savage lockdown we would run up and down the stairs a dozen times to keep fit.

dogsmother Sun 07-Aug-22 12:57:17

Believe me having worked in rehab, I do know that it’s a fact. People who live in houses are remarkably more able than those in bungalows. Unless the bungalow dwellers have worked at not allowing it to occur.

JaneJudge Sun 07-Aug-22 12:59:02

I remember my Grandmother used to go up and down stairs on her bum rather than walk.

SueDonim Sun 07-Aug-22 13:09:33

Do be careful if you decide to crawl/bump on the stairs. My mother (94) suddenly became immobile recently but managed to get downstairs by coming down on her bottom. Unfortunately, she grazed the fragile skin on the back of her legs, which left the carpet covered in blood, but much worse than that, the wounds have now ulcerated. ?

Stairs are a work out if you can manage them. I’m in a temporary home, up four flights of stairs. They were a struggle when I moved in eight weeks ago and I puffed a bit (esp carrying bags) and my knees hurt when I got to the top, but with regular use, I’m now much more capable. smile

JaneJudge Sun 07-Aug-22 13:13:06

Your poor Mum sad I hope it all sorts itself out soon. Has a diabetic nurse looked at her legs?

merlotgran Sun 07-Aug-22 13:33:42

Due to arthritis my left knee is weak but not painful so I go up and down stairs one at a time because I want it to last. I live in a bungalow but try not to avoid stairs when out and about.

My mother developed bungalow legs and allowed herself to become very unfit as a result. If I live as long as she did I don’t want to spend the last years of my life being hoisted everywhere.

I carry a collapsible stick in my bag if go somewhere where there might be steps without a handrail. Better to be safe than sorry.

SueDonim Sun 07-Aug-22 13:57:12

Thank you, JaneJ. Mum’s not diabetic but she’s always had fragile skin and bruised easily. She’s been in hospital for five weeks now and although she is ok in herself, it’s arthritis that has made her immobile. Tbh, I can’t visualise what the outcome is going to be. sad

karmalady Sun 07-Aug-22 14:06:13

yes, bungalow knees is a fact. Bil, has lived in bungalows in australia sine he moved there in 1990, now age 54 he has just had an op to replace both knees. I deliberately bought a house with stairs, I value the exercise and strengthened leg muscles. Muscles protect joints

Lucca Sun 07-Aug-22 14:34:27


yes, bungalow knees is a fact. Bil, has lived in bungalows in australia sine he moved there in 1990, now age 54 he has just had an op to replace both knees. I deliberately bought a house with stairs, I value the exercise and strengthened leg muscles. Muscles protect joints

Can’t resist it * yes, bungalow knees is a fact. Bil….*

So that’ll be Bungalow Bill? ??

M0nica Sun 07-Aug-22 14:36:13

When my parents retired, back in 1980., they were offered a pre-retirement course by my father's employer.

One of the things they were told was, that if they retired to a bungalow, then they should make sure they went out to some where, department store, hotel, any building with more than one floor at least once a week in order to walk up and down the stairs three times, to stop them developing bungalow legs.

Washerwoman Sun 07-Aug-22 14:39:16

I had never heard this expression until recently. However with a large garden with some steps to tend and dogs to walk hopefully that more than makes up for the lack of stairs. I'm a fidget by nature and rarely sit for long until it gets to evenings.I have however vowed to work on my core strength and do more targeted exercises since badly twisting my knee lifting a heavy bag of shopping.I'm currently relieved to live on one level.It's going to take some time to recover I fear.

GrannySomerset Sun 07-Aug-22 14:45:07

A GP friend always advised a house with stairs except for patients with heart or lung problems, so there is obviously something to be gained by keeping on climbing stairs.

Happygirl79 Sun 07-Aug-22 15:14:23

I moved to my bungalow 3 years ago and walk daily including many inclines for the purpose of keeping fit. I adore one level living. No more empty bedrooms upstairs. Now each room can be used .A dressing room. A dining room. An art room etc

Prentice Sun 07-Aug-22 16:30:12

we have friends our age who bought a bungalow, which is lovely five years ago.We are all in our 80's now, and they can trot up any steps and stairs we come to when out and about in fact more easily than us, so it is not the bungalow it is the legs.

AussieGran59 Tue 09-Aug-22 06:30:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.