Sat with Nat · standing

Nat is thankful for pain free feet

Recommended Soundtrack “I’m still standing” by Elton John

I write a lot about walking. Yup. Still happening every day and averaging 13,000 steps a day this year. That’s up from 9,800 last year. Yay!

I was talking to friends this week about that moment in your life where you don’t take pain free walking for granted. This revelation came to me in waves. First, when pregnant, more recently I had a serious bout of plantar fasciitis a couple years ago. It hurt so much!

Oh, did I say a couple years? It’s been 3, time flies. I’m in good company with my foot woes here at our blog and that is somehow comforting.

Catherine has written about her foot care

As has Tracy

And Sam has a cranky toe

So I’m especially thankful that I’m more aware of my feet and what I need to do to care for them.

A variety of footwear in good repair

I continue to buy good quality footwear. I’ve added variety from Keen slip on sandals with structured support to Manitobah moccasins that have a supple sole to ensure my feet get a full range of motion. I have a more supportive Keen hiking sandal as well as insulated slip on Merrel clogs. ALL THE FOOTWEAR.

I regularly inspect my footwear for wear and tear and throw them out when repairs are no longer keeping them functional. No more worn out shoes for me!

Stretching and massaging

I’m seated with my left leg extended. My right foot rests on my left thigh as I massage the sole of my right foot.

I stretch my soles, toes, calves and ankles throughout the day. I continue to use spiked balls, softer wool ones that Catherine recommended and yoga straps to help.

Even on the couch I point and flex my feet. I try to scrunch up my toes and also spread them apart. There are lots of popping and crunching sounds but no pain. Yay!

Shoe free time

Some folks wear shoes indoors to support their feet. I find having bare foot time helpful in experiencing a full range of motion in my feet and checking in with how my feet are doing. If they get cranky I slip on some Merrels I keep inside for daytime use.

Sitting and Standing

Both got my paid work and my housework, I alternate between sitting and standing to work my feet and rest them.

I am taking a Zoom choir where I stand for 90 minutes. I don’t like singing seated, there’s too much boob, belly and thigh competing for space to get my breathing right. It has caused me to realize an hour of standing is really my limit so I do sit…or even lay down to sing.

Checking in with my feet

All of this to say I now pay attention if there is tenderness or aches in my feet. I get investigative and reflect on what has changed and what steps I can take to keep my feet functioning.

Is there some ache that you have been able to turn around? What did you do? How are you sustaining the changes/supports?

#deanslife · accessibility · standing

Not all sitting is the same: Sam’s new stool

Image description: A row of stools of different heights and colours, orange, red, green, and blue.

There’s an awful lot of news about sitting in the fitness media. The latest bad news about sitting is that sitting too much can undermine the effects of exercise. Chronic sitters become, over time, less responsive to the effects of training.

For the latest in my newsfeed see New Data Shows We’re Still Sitting Way Too Much. Does Exercising Cancel It Out. Selene Yeager writes: “All hope is not lost, however. Though previous research has found that multiple days of being extremely sedentary makes you resistant to the benefits of a bout of exercise, a newly published study on so-called “high sitters” (those sitting more than 6 hours a day) shows that consistent exercise can indeed counteract the ill effects of lots of forced chair time: It’s just a matter of getting regular activity. “

Sitting is of interest to me and my arthritic knees. On the one hand, my knees don’t hurt when I’m sitting so that’s good. But on the other, if I sit fit any length of time my knees hurt more when I get up. And then there’s my back. I used to hurt my back all the time and sitting was one of the problems. That was the reason I got a standing desk in the first place. See Celebrating my standing desk. I still use it some of the time but not as much as I’d like.

All of this means I’m sitting more than I used to. I was reminded the other day that not all sitting is equal. Active sitting is better than just flopping. People can be against chairs but not against all sitting. Back when I first considered getting a standing desk, friends recommended getting a hokki stool instead. They’re wobbly and good for those of us who fidget. You’re sitting but not keeping still. It’s active sitting.

Here is how the manufacturer describes the stool: “The HOKKI is an ergonomic stool that transforms stationary sitting into an activity, ideal for brainstorming sessions and other active sitting environments.”

Image description: Sam’s new purple hokki stool.

My friend Wayne described it this way,
“It’s a chair for people whose spines like yoga (and/or who don’t like sitting still, and are prone to slouching and leg-crossing in a normal chair).”

This month I started to get nervous about all the sitting I’m doing. I don’t want to put my back out again. And then, out of the blue my daughter Mallory asked for a hokki stool for her birthday. I thought of Wayne’s advice. I reread my old blog piece on active sitting. I ordered one for me too and it arrived today.

I’ll report back and let you know how it goes.

What’s your choice? Do you sit in a chair or do you have another way of sitting?

Image description: A thin, young woman with long straight blonde hair wearing black clothes and sitting on a hokki stool. (All the women on the hokki stool website looked like this.)

accessibility · body image · disability · normative bodies · SamanthaWalsh · standing · wheelchairs

Samantha stands and has complicated feelings about it (Guest post)

By Samantha Walsh

On the weekend I went to @abilities_expo for work. It’s a trade show of disability related services and products. A company called wheelchair88 was showing a standing wheelchair. It was a manual wheelchair you could lock then move the wheelchair into a standing position. You can’t move once you are standing.

Thoughts on standing straight from someone who has never stood straight…

I forget how old I was when I stopped thinking I would be more beautiful if I was standing. I know I was older than 20, but younger than 25.

I forget how old I was when I stopped thinking I would be more powerful if I could meet someone’s eye. It was older than 25, but younger than 33.

I know as a child if asked to draw a picture of myself, I would draw a standing person. I did this till I was 6 or 7. After that I often drew people using wheelchairs, but would still draw myself standing.

I know by grade 4 I started drawing pictures of me using a wheelchair, because I started playing wheelchair basketball and often drew about that for school.

When I was young I had lots of surgery and different interventions so I could stand and walk. It’s interesting that the mark of success for doctors and therapists was always that I could hobble or shuffle. Standing would be an all encompassing lactic acid filled experience.

I am often surprised it is still the gold standard. Facebook and YouTube videos depicting folks with disabilities who vowed to walk to get diplomas; walk down isles; stand for first dances. I have adult friends whose parents refused them wheelchairs. In turn they have internalized that standing, walking, shuffling is best.

A wheelchair to me offers liberty and a stable fast painless way to move. Even with all this I was seduced by the opportunity to stand straight. I picked an outfit I was curious about seeing standing. I compelled a coworker to take pictures.

Standing felt unnatural. My head was too high. My legs don’t go straight the brace had to force them. My spine curves from sitting so it hurt. To me the social significance of standing comes from a culture that privileges a specific kind of body. I feel grateful I no longer understand my own posture as inferior.

Today was interesting…

Samantha Walsh is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology. She also works in the Not-For-Profit Sector.

You can read all of Samantha’s posts here.