If you are looking for ONE exercise that will give you big bang for your
butt buck, look no further than the squat. Looking to stay out of an assisted living facility (nursing home)? Squat. Seriously. Back hurt from bending over to pick up your kid/keys/groceries/doggie doo? Squat, don’t bend.
According to healthinaging.org, “Some type of disability with activities of daily living (ADLs) is the most common reason that older people live in nursing homes. Not surprisingly, people living in nursing homes generally have more disability than people living at home. About 25% of nursing-home residents need help with one or two activities of daily living (for example, walking and bathing), and 75% need help with three or more. More than half of residents have incontinence (either bowel or bladder), and more than a third have difficulty with hearing or seeing.”
Start including the squat (and variations) in your workouts NOW to avoid being stuck on the toilet later. Seriously. I’ve heard that one of the main ADLs that require assistance is getting onto and off of the toilet because people don’t have the quad/glute strength to do this maneuver. For realz, yo.
What does a good squat look like? Well, the epitome of a good squat looks like this:
If you have difficulty with balance, use a chair in front of you (hold the top of the back), and a chair behind you. Lower your body until it just touches the chair, then press through your heels to stand back up. That’s one rep. Those who are just getting back into this should aim for being able to do this for 10 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this three times. Maintain good form throughout; don’t sacrifice form just to get in a few more reps!! Improper technique causes more injuries than a proper squat.
If you are a bit more advanced and are able to squat properly without using the chairs, there are several variations of the humble squat that will challenge you. A few are the sumo squat, goblet squat, prisoner squat, squat jumps, and overhead squat press. Whew! The possibilities are endless! Shake things up a bit by mixing some variations into your workouts. Go for it.
The squat is a great overall exercise because it uses our largest muscle groups: glues, quads, hammies, and gastrocs (calves). OH! and core, as it helps stabilize us throughout the movement. Without core involvement, we’d topple over. No bueno.
Give a few squats a try today, and let me know how they go for you. Remember to keep your back straight, head up, weight on heels, and to BREATHE.