Sitting too much? Squat more. Restore healthy movement and flexibility.
Squatting is one of our most basic and fundamentally movements. But it is disappearing from our movement repertoire.
Our paleo ancestors used to squat to work, eat, and rest. Even today, squatting is a common sitting position in some parts of the world. It is a natural way to move. Young children instinctively drop into a deep squat to reach for something low. They drop into a squat to play.
But, for most of us, sitting has replaced the squat.
We sit in chairs to eat, read, work, and drive. We sit to watch TV and at movies and restaurants. School children sit at their desks. I am sitting at a computer writing this article.
Sitting so much contributes to many of our modern diseases and chronic pain. Such as heart disease, diabetes, lower back pain, and shoulder pain.
The ability to squat is critical to our ability to move in everyday activity. Let’s not lose it.
Do you have trouble getting in and out of a chair or getting down to the floor and getting back up again? Do you suffer from pain in your ankles, knees, hips, or lower back?
A simple squatting practice can help us regain basic movements. It restores flexibility to ankles, knees, hips and lower back. It improves digestion and elimination.
What is a squat? The squat is a full body exercise that focuses on the hips, thighs, butt, hamstrings, and quads. It is a low-impact movement. It does not need equipment.
To squat, fold at the hips and the knees and bring the butt behind you toward the floor. Keep the spine straight. Keep your feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees above your ankles.
Do your best, but do not move into pain. Stay within your pain-free range of movement. Put your hands on the back of a chair to support your squat if you need to.
Keep your knees in neutral. If you feel the squat in your knees, make sure your knees are above your ankles. Bring your heels wider apart. Then bring your toes wider than your heels.
If you can’t squat (yet), start with this. Sit in a chair with a desk or table in front of you. Start standing and then sit down, using your hands on the desk to support you. Return to your start position. Use your hands as little as possible until you can do this mini-squat with no hands. This is a good beginning!
Begin your squatting practice now. Don’t wait. Reverse the negative effects of sitting too long.
Increase your opportunity and ability to squat by adding squats to your practice at the gym or at home. Start with 3, 6, 9 dynamic squats. Listen to your inner athlete. When you are ready, increase your repetitions.
As soon as you can, add at least one long held static squat each day, maintaining a deep squat for 3, 6, 9 minutes. Again, listen to your own inner athlete.
Find other opportunities to squat in your daily life. It’s easy. Remember, squatting is more natural (and more beneficial) than sitting.
Squat while you wait in line at the grocery store, watch a sunset, or work on your computer. Squat when you reach for something in your lower shelves and cupboards.
Your ability to get up from a chair or the floor will improve. You will feel stronger and more flexible. Your posture will improve. Your body will thank you for it many times over
I spent an hour in line going through customs at the airport when I returned to Mexico recently. Everyone else was standing in the line. I squatted by my suitcase, coming out of my squat every so often to move myself forward in the line. I know my body benefitted from this spontaneous squatting practice. And I found out that it is less tiring to squat than to stand in a line like that!
Medical Disclaimer: This article contains information intended to assist you in improving your health and well-being. However, the information presented is offered only as-is for informational and educational purposes. It is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a medical professional.