Question: Using result of solve call with multiple equations

When I solve a system of equations, the result, even if it's a single numerical solution, is no longer given as a number, but like this:

a := solve({x^2=1, x>0}, x);

a:={x = 1}

Now i'd like to use the variable a with the value 1. How can I transform the funny-looking result into a usable one?

How to do it if there are multiple solutions like a := {x = 1}, {x = -1}?

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