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By Pam Burke 

View from the North 40: Apparently, there's sitting, then there's sit-to-standing


Last updated 6/3/2022 at 2:44pm

A person’s life has its defining moments, some large and understandably life-changing like an illness or a loss or a great kindness from another person, but others are small, intimate, personal moments that can completely change a person’s mindset and the trajectory of their life, like kneeling down and being unable to get up again without groaning and the use of a prop.

One of my favorite activities in the whole world is sitting. Have a seat, take a seat, pull up a chair and sit a spell, take a load off your feet, sit and take a break. Of course, reclining is a special treat, but sitting is the hearty meat and potatoes of waking activities. And a good brisk sit is better for one’s heart than a sweaty sprint any day of the week, I say. That’s just common sense.

I like sitting so much, I even sit at a desk as my vocation — you know what they say, do what you love for a living and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Just because I “sit around” all day doesn’t mean I’m a slouch. I sit on desk chairs aplenty, dining room chairs, break room chairs, benches, vehicle seats, lawn chairs, folding chairs, bleachers. I’ll sit on the edge of a table or hop up and sit on the counter if need be because I am sophisticated like that.

I do not sit on the floor — that’s where feet and shoes live, tracking all manner of nastiness indoors. Yeah, I’ve spent plenty of time in corrals and traipsing through the great outdoors as well as public places where humans exist. There are unspeakable things down at foot level and some real stories your shoes could tell, you don’t even wanna know. Those things are so awful I don’t even suck them into the vacuum cleaner, so why would I want to get down there on floor.


Apparently just to get up again.

Weird, right?

One is supposed to get on the floor or the ground solely to get up again, medical experts say, simple as that.

Apparently, they’ve been saying this for years, decades even.

I didn’t get the message until last night.

I’ve been doing some fencing work in my pasture. This activity requires a lot of walking around, and moments that are better described as hiking. I’ve also had to do some toting of things, some pulling, tugging and prying. I’ve had to do plenty of digging as well. I have also done considerable kneeling down and getting back up again.

Please note that nowhere in this list of tasks have I listed the word “sit” in any of its forms. Fencing is clearly made more tragic for this oversight.

Eventually I grew to appreciate that the kneeling was mostly next to posts where I secured the wires, and I could use said post as props to pull and lean on to get back up again.

Apparently, and this is just anecdotal evidence from my own personal experience here, but when one is used to sitting in chairs, suddenly doing non-sitting activities and having to lower oneself to and rise again from positions which are lower than sitting height is strenuous.

In case you are unfamiliar with the term, “strenuous” is an obscure medical term for an activity that makes your body hurt.

Importantly, I not only recovered from the new strains on my body, particularly my knees, but I also was able to endure a greater degree of strenuous-type activity with less pain.

Then last Saturday I went to a branding where I volunteered to vaccinate the calves while they were being held on the ground for all their early-cattle-hood ministrations. By my count, I had to get down on the ground and back up again more than 140 times in less than two hours.

Without sitting. Even once.

I hate to glorify my part in the proceedings, but I’m just going to say that the ropers sat in their saddles the whole time — their horses did most of the work. The muggers got to sit on the ground or perched cosily on a calf most of the time, and there were five pairs of them so they only had to get down and back up one-fifth of the times I did. And the branders didn’t have to get down on the ground at all, so I don’t even know why they bothered to break a sweat.

I’m not going to call myself super-human, because my flesh was weak and sore.

So heroic will do.

And like all classically stoic American heroes, I was too prideful to complain. I drove home, limped into the house, took an aspirin and iced my knees. And then I got over it like a super-human being.

Last night, though, my computer, which spies on me, randomly suggested a video about a medically recommended sit-to-stand exercise. From a standing position you cross your legs, sit into a cross-legged position then stand again without using your hands, elbows, knees, etc. to assist yourself along the way.

Being able to sit and stand again this way is supposed to help you live longer. On the recommendation of my hips, I didn’t try the exercise, but I guess I now have a new life goal.


And apparently I have to start vacuuming my floors, too, at .


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