Are Squats Really Beneficial?
A squat is a simple exercise - straighten your back, with the spine in aligned position, shoulders and chest not hunched but up, and look straight ahead. Keep your arms raised and stretched before you.
Now, bend your knees and squat. Make sure your knees and feet are in a straight line. Get to as low to the floor as you can and then rise. Repeat. Make sure your breath is even and consistent.
Benefits Of Squats
Doing squats may seem too simple but you will be amazed at the wide array of benefits that these offer. Here are some of them:
1. They Build Muscle
The whole point of the squat is building greatly defined muscles in the entire body. Squats release hormones that are vital to build muscle. As a result, you will achieve shapely calves and muscular thighs and legs. So while it is considered a leg exercise, a squat is so much more than that.
2. They Tone The Body
Squats are great to give a more shapely body to the person. As this exercise helps build muscle, fat loss is facilitated, allowing you to love handles and excess fat.
3. They Could Help You Lose Weight
Each time you gain muscle, your body is set up to lose anywhere between 50 to 70 calories every single day. Weight loss is a happy by-product of squats.
4. They Improve Digestion
The squatting position is one most favorable pose for evacuation. Products like Squatty Potty are a testament to the West catching up with what the east has known for centuries - the action of the squat eases the movement of waste and liquids. This makes digestion easy and effective.
5. They Help With Balance
As we grow older, strong legs become even more crucial. They help with maintaining balance and in extension, mobility, and prevent fractures and falls. Also, when you have strong knees, and good, well-oiled joints, it’s a win-win.
6. It’s Great For The Lower Body
A well-toned, firm butt, legs and glutes are flattering and healthy. The squat also helps with the stomach, to create great abs. The squat is the best exercise for this because it works for the entire leg, not just a targeted muscle.
7. Prevents Injuries
When muscles, tissues and ligaments weaken, these become more prone to injuries. Squats are great to improve flexibility which helps to fight injuries.
8. They Are Great For Sports People
Longer strides, higher jumps, more athleticism, squats are good not just for the sportspeople but for anyone who wants to achieve a more agile, stronger and flexible body.
9. It Protects Against Disease
Since squats help with muscle development, it helps to regulate lipid and glucose metabolism and insulin production, helping your body fight against obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. A healthier body is the result of a squats regime.
10. It Doesn’t Require Any Fancy Equipment
A squat uses your body’s weight to give you the best results. So there’s no need for you to shell out for a gym membership, fancy clothes, and weights but you’ll still have an effective exercise routine.
Squats have variations - do them with the arms stretched out, or with weights, dumbbells, and with resistance bands. Or stick to the regular squat and it will help you anyway. Or better still check out the 30 day squat challenge.
In the 30-day squat challenge, you will be doing squats every day for 30 days. The intensity of the squats will vary every day. You will be doing just ten squats on the first day, it will increase slowly over the week, and by the end of the week, you will be doing 30 squats. By the end of 14 days, you will be doing 50 squats. By day 23 you will be doing 75 squats, and at the end of 30 days, you will be doing 100 squats.
Things To Keep In Mind When Doing Squats
Care should be taken while doing squats. Many people have reported injuries ranging from minor to major after doing squats. The reason for the injuries more often than not is not having proper technique. The form is important for every exercise; if any exercise has to work, you need proper form always.
If you do squats with a very wide stance, you have a chance of getting injured. Similarly, a narrow stance can also cause injuries. If you bend forward too much while doing a squat the chances of getting injured are high. Also, your hips should not be below the knee, if it is you risk injuries.
The most common is knee injury due to lack of proper form and technique. The risk of back injuries is also high due to improper form. When you do a squat with weights, if the balance is not right or if the bar is not placed properly on your shoulders, you can injure your neck and back, both the lower as well as the upper back.
Many people see a lot of good results when they do squats and the mistake they do is to do a lot of squats. Anything excessive is always bad and the same with squats, if you do squats excessively you will be doing harm to your knees.
Muscles, tendons and ligaments can also get torn if squats are done excessively. You may not know it right away but a day will come when your knees will give away. So it is better to err on the side of caution and do only a specific number of squats per day.
For proper form, it is advisable to use the services of a certified fitness trainer while doing squats. Do not consult the help of an uncertified trainer as people who do not know how the human body works or how muscles and tendons and ligaments work will not be able to train you how to properly do squats.
Whereas a certified fitness trainer knows how much exertion a person can apply. Too much exertion will cause injuries and illnesses.
It is also advised to consult your doctor before you start squat exercises. Your doctor knows your medical history and will be able to guide you in the proper direction. Though the benefits are many, start a squat exercise or squat challenge only after your doctor okays it.