SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column - Commentary

Is it Time for the 'Iron Chair'?  


January 29, 2023

Ketchikan, Alaska -
As I age, I look for ways to get active.


Well, that's not quite correct. I am actually looking for ways to get MORE active. I have always been "sorta" active.

"Active" in that I am always doing "something." Work, hobbies and other stuff have always kept me busy. But not "active." At least in the sort of way that involves physical "activities." 

I have always been fascinated by those with "active lives." You know, the kind of people that run every day or climb mountains or take vacations around such things as scuba diving or hiking the Appalachian Trail. 

That is so not me.

I remain an avid "indoorsperson."

Maybe that's because I have lived most of my life somewhere where the "outdoors" is not just a lovely break from the sedentary life, it is somewhere that will just as soon kill you as entertain you.

Hypothermia is one of the leading causes of death in these here parts. You can get it by going out to the check the mail most days.

But I digress.

The other day, I stumbled across an "activity" that may just be right up my alley.

Which, natch, begs the question about why something should be "right up" one's alley.

The phrase goes back - at least - as far as Sir Francis Bacon (always quote someone who brings a smile to your face. Bacon is one of my happy words).

"Such men...are good but in their own alley," Bacon wrote in 1612. Clearly an early version of "staying in one's own lane."

This also reminds of the only sport I was ever any good at. Bowling. An indoor sport of course.

But I digress, again.

The other day, I was partaking of something called "Chair Yoga." Led by old friend Hillary Koch at the Ketchikan Public Library. My wife, Charlotte, wants me to avoid turning into a puddle in retirement, so I have to start doing things like Chair Yoga. There are worse ways to get exercise (see above, Hiking the Appalachian Trail).

Basically, it involves stretching and other activities like normal Yoga, but rather than bending yourself into untenable positions, you get to do it while sitting down. This is a good thing for me. I am one of the most accomplished "sitters" in the world. I am "World Class" at planting my butt in a chair. And I don't mind bragging about it!

But while I was sitting and stretching the other day, something occurred to me. Can I take this accomplishment to the "next level?"

You bet your sweet bippy! (another example of increasing geezerness, quoting "Laugh In").

The "Iron Man" triathlon event has been in the news recently because the first Alaskan one was held in Juneau last year. The plan was to hold at least three more, but now the corporation that owns the contest is saying "nyet." 

Not because it wasn't a success. It was. Hundreds of people took part, and the Juneau tax receipts soared the week it occurred.

Actually, it isn't clear why future events were cancelled. The international organization made some vague complaints about finances, which frankly sounded like they were trying to exact some sort of toll from the community for future events. There was also some grumbling about how cold the water was in Juneau for the swimming part of the triathlon. Maybe, the "Iron Man" (sexist title) folks just aren't up to Alaska? 

Maybe, Alaska needs its own special "Iron Person," with dog sledding, mountain climbing, and muktuk gorging?

But I digress, again, and again.

As I was sitting in my Yoga chair (mid-century modern: plastic, yet very supportive), it occurred to me:  Iron Chair!!!

Can you swim in a chair?

Certainly, and it doesn't involve water! Just start windmilling those arms. Freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, you name it. No drowning involved.

Can you bicycle in a chair?

Absolument! There is even the extra benefit of creating "buns of steel" by holding your feet off the ground to stimulate the pedaling action.

Can you run in a chair? 

But of course. All you have to do is adjust your FitBit to take into account all those up and down steps. But you may want to check with your downstairs neighbors, to warn them that the two-footed pile driver is about to start.

I need to get on this. I need to promote the first ever "Alaska Iron Chair" Event.

Best of all, it eliminates that nasty "outdoorsy" stuff that could lead to either hypothermia or the "excess shrinkage" that apparently embarrassed all those "Iron Man" aficionados who came north last summer and were left quaking in their singlets causing the entire carnival to hightail it back to more southern exposures.

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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.

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