Yesterday we were up at 5:30 to go to Lima, 75 miles north, to ring steward at a dog show. I couldn’t write before we left and when we came home I went straight to bed, totally exhausted. I didn’t even take off my clothes.

The job of a ring steward is to assist the judge, and to some extent, exhibitors. We hand out armbands, answer questions, pull ribbons, help people get their armbands on, fish cold drinks out of the cooler below the table, bellow for missing dogs, and keep track of the results in a steward’s book. All the while not leaving an area about three foot square. Judges at least get to walk around in the ring looking at the dogs. No wonder  prominent judge “Broadway” Joe Gregory dances in the ring.

It was very hot and I did stand around from 8 am until 4 p.m. But I was curious as to why we are so exhausted when we stand all day. Museum goers know that it’s incredibly taxing– but why? It’s not like we’re running laps around the galleries.

I found the most succinct answer on an Indiana Public Radio site:

It lies exactly in the fact that while you ARE standing, you AREN’T moving your legs. Although this seems like an easy thing to do, it isn’t at all the same thing as resting.

Think of it this way: when we walk at a steady pace, we are constantly changing the pressure on each foot. At no point do you have both feet flat on the ground.

That alternation of stress and relaxation has two effects. First, it gives your foot a little rest before having to exert a force again, each time you step. Add all those little rests together and you’ll see you spend roughly half your walking time off your feet. Not bad.

The other effect is that walking helps circulate the blood. It’s the increased difficulty in circulation when you are standing still that causes blood to pool a little in your feet. When not enough fresh blood reaches those muscles, they tend to become uncomfortable.

But in my quest for the answer, I also found a thread on “My Fitness Pal” that I found intensely disturbing. If you’re not familiar with “My Fitness Pal” it is an online community of people tracking their food intake and exercise in order to lose weight and get more fit. You’d think, given the circumstances that it would be a supportive group. You’d think wrong.

A woman wrote to ask how to track “standing.”  The snarky comments verged on abuse. “.0000001 calorie, now go have a donut,” and “the same for lying down, fatty.”  Not only were those people (using the term loosely) rude, they were also wrong. Numerous sites, including Livestrong document the stress, strain and calories burned of standing.  On the Health Status calculator,  you can track the number of calories burned for nearly any activity, including brushing your teeth for three minutes (14 calories), walking on crutches (305 calories) foreplay (84) and talking on the phone  for half an hour (60). You can even figure out doing these things all at the same time.

Someone who stands for half an hour, who weighs what I do, will burn 69 calories. More than talking on the phone, less than foreplay. This is in addition to your Basal Metabolic Rate– you know the calories you burn just by being alive. Standing for eight hours, as I did yesterday, burns nearly 1100 calories.  (I was there for 9+ hours, but towards the end of the day, I did find opportunity to sit.)

Let me tell you folks, this more than makes up for the steps I missed. (A mile of moderate walking burns about 170 calories.)

The dog pictured, an exquisite example of  something “standing” is GCH. Protocol’s Vedi Veni Vici or “Fifi” to her friends. She is yesterday’s very deserving winner of Best in Show.

Today’s Target Number 54. Steps walked 2830. For breakfast: blueberries with yogurt and granola, lunch: cheese and tomato sandwich, a cup of fruit salad, a glass of lemonade.  Dinner: lobster tail, five scallops, five shrimp, steamed broccoli, small baked potato, two biscuits.


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