Why Should I Squat?
BY LUCY D'AGUILAR, FIT & EATS
May 23, 2017
Let's talk about the mighty squat for a moment. In my opinion this is by far the BEST exercise around. Almost everyone should be incorporating this exercise into their fitness routine; it's a relatively easy move, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere you like. I even do them whilst brushing my teeth! As a parent, I couldn't believe how many times I would be squatting throughout the day, so being able to squat correctly is a vital element in parenthood. There are a few guidelines when it comes to squatting technique. In order to prevent any injuries it is important to keep these things in mind:
- Track your knees over your toes (don’t let your knees go beyond the toes).
- Push your knees out slightly to activate the glutes (don’t let them cave in).
- Hinge from the hips — this means stick your butt back.
- Keep a neutral spine (not a completely flat back, but not a huge arch either).
- Keep your shoulders back, don’t round through your shoulders.
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These are a few of the basic pointers, the best thing to do now is practice next to a mirror. Remember this though, everybody will look different during a squat due to our body mechanics. Only go as low as you feel comfortable to start with, as your body gets used to the movement it will become easier and your range of motion will improve.
There are so many reasons to include squats in your workout, so here are a few of the reasons I love.
It's a full-body exercise
The squat really does target a lot of muscle groups, not all of them but a lot. It targets your bum, legs, back AND your abs all at the same time!
Squats are functional
Everyone needs to squat at some point during the day. Whether it be to get up off a chair, go to the loo or to get something out of a bottom cupboard, we all need to squat. This is where the term functional fitness comes in to play. If you can relate an exercise to a common daily movement you can call it a functional movement (to explain it in brief).
It helps with waste removal
That's right, I'm talking about poop and other substances. The BEST position to poop is in a squatting position! Have you ever heard of a squatty potty? Well it's a stool you can put under your feet while you go to help get your body in the best position. This is because a squat aligns the colon perfectly for evacuation (hehe, I can't help but giggle there). Not only that, but squats aid in pumping other fluids and nutrition around the body.
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They burn some serious calories
You are using major muscles in a squat, which means they need lots of energy to work. The bigger the muscles, the more calories you burn. Also as your muscles grow bigger and stronger, this will boost your metabolism so you will burn more calories at rest!
And give you a rounder bum
As the glute muscles (your bum) are one of the main movers in a squat, the more you move them and the heavier the weights you lift are, the firmer and rounder your bum will get! Also as you’re burning more calories, in turn the fat will start to drop off.
Squats are low impact
This speaks for itself really. Squats are an amazing low-impact move for MOST fitness levels. You can start using a chair for support, then move onto an exercise ball and eventually free-standing squats. Perfecting the squat form will help with knee and back pain as the muscles will become stronger and support the joints where needed.
Lastly, watch the video for some squat variations. From beginner all the way to advanced, I’m sure there will be one you love!
And remember: Always check with a medical professional before beginning a new fitness regime — if something doesn't feel right, don't do it. Happy workouts!
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