The Sit-Rise Challenge

Can you sit to rise? This photo is from the Washington Post, 3/21/19.

I took the sit-rise challenge.
I didn’t pass.
If you haven’t heard of this, it is a simple task; sit cross-legged on the floor.
Then rise to standing, without using your knees or hands.
Sit-Rise fitness has surprisingly strong correlation to longevity, though that is not simple and I’m not going into it here. If you are interested, check out
I know I used to be able to do it. I’m not sure when that changed.

I am thinking of how I studied my parents as they aged. Once, I went grocery shopping with the two of them. I laughed at them, each with a big shopping cart. They weren’t going to buy that much food, certainly? It wasn’t until several years later that I realized what the shopping cart provided. It was a walker, twenty years before they actually used a walker. It helped them balance, it helped them rest.

I remember another time, years after the shopping cart day, that my mom told me a “funny” story. She and my dad had been doing yard work together. They both overdid, got stiff and tired, and neither could get up. They each had to crawl to a tree to hold onto, to help them rise. I didn’t laugh.

My mom, however, was proud of her flexibility. Into her 90’s she could sit on the floor comfortably. She did need to use hands and knees to get up. She wasn’t earning a perfect ten on the sit-rise challenge, but she was doing pretty darn well.

Suffice it to say, I want to do well.
I want to get back to having the core strength to rise from the floor, no help from hands or knees.
Greg Hartley, president of the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy, quoted in the article today said, “…my patients walk to heaven. That’s my goal.”

I had a goal when I was 29 turning 30- to get back into dancing. I did it.
I had a goal when I was approaching 40- to learn tai chi. I did it (still doing it- its not something you finish.)
Now in my 60’s I’ll work on sitting and rising. So simple, so profound.
I have a goal- I want to walk to my seat at my grandchildren’s weddings.
I’d like to walk, oh- maybe 40 more years!

9 thoughts on “The Sit-Rise Challenge

  1. I always learn something new from your posts. Love how you share snippets from your past and your lines- “I’ll work on sitting and rising. So simple, so profound.” Although I was able to pass this challenge, I have felt my body change in how quickly I bounce back from tennis. I too have goals to keep playing for another 40 years.


  2. I want to walk to heaven:)) I wonder how many slicers will try this test tonight. I got up on my 3rd try, but it wasn’t easy (almost hurt myself in the effort). I like how you add in your observations of your parents and set your own goal – to walk to your seat for your grandchildren’s wedding. I like that goal for myself.
    (Have you seen the movie “The Holiday”? In it Kate Winslet’s character helps an older gentleman exercise until he can walk up the steps of a stage to accept an award.)


  3. Another masterful slice. It gave me so much to think about. I have wondered recently if my children are beginning to “study” me and if they talk about “how mom and dad are doing.” It’s a ponderous stage of life.


  4. I can’t do it. Our daughter can do it but our son cannot, and our daughter’s husband cannot, that gets their goat. I think it’s a great goal to have! Years and years ago my grandmother visited me in the hospital when our daughter was born. I remember her saying, “I hope I live until I see that baby walk.” She did.


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