Spot That Slide…and Stop It!

Caught myself!

Wait a minute, what was that you just did? Did you really put your hand on the the bathroom sink to stand up?  And did the other hand actually reach for the loo seat to help push up!”

Couldnt believe it.  Me, a Physiotherapist too, who long ago instituted a lifelong rule to always ‘stand up without a push up’. Make the Knees work…maintain strength etc. Happily assumed that my body would obey…. It hadnt.

Bodies create their own version of rules. One of them seems to be something like,  “If there is a problem find an alternative solution, something easier”. But dont bother to tell your owner, just do it.

From my original knee problem 30 years ago, I knew that if I didnt take charge, my hand would automatically move to my left knee and give it a helping push going upstairs. Now it seemed to be happening to both knees and I hadnt noticed!

I was sure that only a week or so ago I was congratulating myself on having retained my ability to stand up from the divan I normally sit on to do up shoes. Checked it.  No!  That sneaky hand was there with a crafty little push on the mattress , unannounced, unplanned and apparently unrealised  by me!

Once recognised it was obvious this lazy body behaviour had snuck in everywhere.  The old blue sofa had always been too low and a push up on that was allowed. But the new higher one?….That too!

And then realised that not only the body, but the brain is getting sneaky! Keep catching it out! Last week caught it looking around the room for the highest sofa and the arm chair instead of taking the most convenient*

Action stations:

Conscious check. “Wait a minute, how did I just get up?” Better still, “How will I get up?” Every time!

And of course practice +++.  Semi squats twice a day. Exercise bike.

Plus review technique.  Am I leaning forward enough to get weight as far as possible over feet?  Can I use a bit more momentum to assist in that?

And maybe a bit less weight for the poor old Knees  to lift? (Do have some empathy with them, they are very rusty.)  Did eat rather well on the US trip….

Watching Out – That slow slip:

In my  mid sixties I went to Yemen.   Being offered food Yemeni style meant sitting on the floor around trays of food, albeit on a beautiful carpet. With shock I discovered that I could no longer sit cross legged!  Don’t know when i had lost it, but gone it had. Took 3 months hard effort and much grimacing to get it back.  So one daily routine now is to check it. Done sitting in bed even before I get up!


Can still do it! Though sadly looks as if Yemen will not be revisitable.

Since then the daily check all joints  to see if they work full range. Shoulders and neck seem most prone to slipping.  And of course, The Knees always need a bit of bullying. Very reluctant some days to straighten to the point where the heel comes off the bed.

Use it or loose it is pretty good advice.  But lets add:


Make sure you dont loose it unintentionally!


* Yes, in ones 83rd year it would not be odd to use a chair with arms and a higher seat.  ( The advertisers would have you buy one with push button jet propulsion to shoot you upright.)  But the longer it is avoided, the longer you are independent and and living in the everyday world.  

However, the campaigner me still chases the obvious  but unthinking Age Unfriendliness of  furniture in public places. Like this hotel,  trying to be elegantly modern, but, excluding a significant proportion of the population from sitting down!





  1. June 6, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    Another amazing article, Joyce. Thank you. I thought it was hust my sneaky parts that try and get away with rubbish. Must see if i can still sit cross legged.

  2. Jill
    June 7, 2018 / 5:18 am

    This is great – full of wise words. We do take our bodies for granted. I had never thought that some sofa and chairs are easier to sit on than others. Thanks!! Jill x.

  3. June 7, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    It does take constant vigilance to keep all parts in the best shape possible! I think it really helps to stay aware of what’s going on with our bodies—this is no time to ignore gradual weakness and loss of muscle tone. Keep it up, Joyce, you are amazing!

  4. eremophila
    June 9, 2018 / 6:35 am

    It wasn’t till a piece of furniture began to show signs of stress that I realized I was using it to raise myself up a step. Whoops, no excuse for that! As you say, vigilance is required.

  5. June 19, 2018 / 12:21 am

    I’ve had all the bath tubs removed in my house, and the floors laid with rough tiling to make it easier to step in without slipping. But travel exposes you to those dangers all over again; not least with unaccommodating hotel furniture. My particular bête noir is bedroom desks where the socket for your laptop plug is located UNDER the desk, necessitating a descent on to hands and knees and desperate clutching at chairs to help one up again.

  6. Jean Luttrell
    February 23, 2020 / 4:24 pm

    Hi, just had to comment on this post. It made me actually laugh at my troubles getting up from some furniture. The last time I tried to get up from my couch, I had to roll to the floor and gradually pull myself up, you all know how that feels. I almost turned a table over in a restaurant before I realized I had a problem getting up, It must have had a balancing problem. Toilet seats are another thing, My favorite casino hotel room has the invalid style seats, thank goodness. Always have to ask for a room as close to the machines as possible because the public toilets are getting to be a real problem. I can still squat very well though.

  7. jemima
    February 24, 2020 / 1:11 am

    you’re right, vigilance required at every moment. and the right measures to take when “unpleasant” discoveries are made. i know it’s unfair of me to ask, but is there any chance of you giving us a comprehensive list of exercises to help strengthen the parts that other activities can’t reach? perhaps there’s one we could find online? i’m afraid i don’t necessarily trust something i find randomly ~ this is my body and i want to keep it in good nick until i’m completely finished with it. which isn’t yet!

    oh, and the other important thing is to laugh. usually at myself. which you definitely help us all to do. if we can’t laugh, especially at ourselves, we might as well give up. my last getting-up-difficulty was from a low sofa. i had to rock back and forth, to gather momentum, before i could haul myself to a standing position. by the time i’d finished i was crying with laughter – well mostly – tears were definitely a part of it.

    so thanks again, for a brilliant blog and a smile to go with it.

  8. Marian Green
    March 13, 2020 / 9:57 pm

    Love this. I’m 66 and Probably not as mobile or as hardworking as yourself. You are an inspiration. Found your blog by accident and glad I did.

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