If you have ever spent any time with toddlers or young children, you will in no way question that kids are squatting champions! They can sit in a deep squat position while zooming cars around a track or caring for their doll. Then, without a bat of their eye, they stand up. So why isn’t it that easy for you and me?!
Well I hate to blame modern society, but I blame modern society…for overuse of the chair! I’m sure many adults can relate to a day spent in a chair behind a desk, sitting at a chair for meals, and sitting on a comfy chair to relax to some Netflix in the evening before bed. I will admit, chairs are comfy: They put our hips and knees very close to their “resting” position, where the joint cavity has the least amount of compression. However, for the health of our joints, we should not be spending this extended amount of time in their “resting positions”.
In recent years, I have been happy to see workplaces and home offices incorporate stand-up desks, since I truly believe humans we were not designed to be sitting all day long. However; moving up to standing is only half the battle, and I think we should all also think about spending more time closer to the ground.
Squatting in Western society seems to have turned into only a gym exercise. But our joints greatly benefit from the cycle of compression and decompression throughout the day to promote lubrication and nutrient flow. A deep resting squat not only provides this compression-decompression cycle for the lower extremity joints, but also challenges core stability, and can improve hip, knee, and ankle mobility. The squatting position can even aid in digestive tract health by decreasing pressure on the pelvic floor musculature and “get things moving”.
We all know the mantras: Practice makes perfect and if you don’t use it, you lose it. So the moral of the story is, let’s all be like kids and spend a little more time in a squat!
- Is squatting harmful? In the right context for the individual, squatting can be a very useful exercise that will not cause any harm. We always want to encourage our clients to be able to do any movement they want to while ensuring safety.
- Is it okay to squat with knees over toes? Knees going over the toes during a squat is not harmful and is a normal movement done daily by most people. If there is pain or restrictions there may need to be modifications made to your squat but in general it is okay.