One of the best functional exercises is squats. This is a foundational movement and our ancestors have been squatting since ancient times. One most common perk of squats is that they help to eliminate your body waste. Few people actually do high-quality squats on a regular basis in their daily lives. You will build muscles that help improve your mobility and balance. It also helps your muscles work more efficiently.
Other benefits of including squats in exercise are strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and ankles, but they also provide a number of other health-boosting benefits, including:
- Building and Strengthening muscles throughout your body
- Increasing fat burning
- Improved balance and mobility
- Preventing injuries
- Enhancing athletic performance
- Toning your buttocks and abdominals
- Improving bowel movement and waste removal
If you are elderly or in bad health, you probably tend to shy away from squats, thinking they are too destructive on the knees. Do not avoid them but just make sure you are doing them properly and avoid using weights. Some safe squat techniques are:
- Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart
- Keep your back in a neutral position and knees centered over your feet
- Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, lowering to reach a 90 degree angle
- Breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you return to starting position
- Do two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, 2 or 3 times a week
If you cannot perform a proper squat, this is actually giving you clues about your current fitness and mobility. Movement is the key point with squats. It is perfectly fine to do air squats without any weight if you are elderly or not strong. Switch things up with a number of different variations as an overhead squat, and using either a broom handle or a weighted bar. These movements will do wonders to improve the thoracic extension and shoulder mobility.
Overhead squats is a challenging whole-body exercise that has many benefits. Once you add weights, you really need to make sure you have good mobility and strength in your hips, knees and ankles. Be sure to stop when your lower back starts to arch excessively or your knees come past your toes.
For those with knee pain consider this: when holding the bar, make sure you drive your elbows down and in close to your sides and when descending, actively pull yourself down into squat position by activating your hip flexor and psoas muscle.
So those of the older generation, get started on those squats and loosen up that old body! I know most of us can use a little help in the bowel elimination department too, since we’ve obviously slowed our lives down. Hang in there!
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