First of all if you have done squat today I want to cheer you on for taking time to do nothing and hopefully during that noting time you were meditating or taking care of yourself by slowing down and smelling the roses.
Now if you have done squat all day and by squat I mean nada, nothing, niet in terms of moving your body…. We have to talk! If you got caught up in your daily routine of sitting at a desk, or on a sofa and you did not break that up with some sort of activity or movement/mobility work you are heading in the direction of having all sorts of problems: back pain, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, neck pain, weight gain, lowered immune system, yada, yada, yada. Of course you have heard it before: Sitting is the new smoking. You get it, it’s BAD… but what are you doing about it?
This is what I do and suggest:
Set a timer or as I do, I set a playlist of music that is an hour long (have a few playlists to actually enjoy the music). Half way through the playlist and at the end of the hour I have a song that just makes me burst out into dance (if you can call what I do dance!) I just shake my shimmy and move in all different ways. I also add in about a dozen to 20 squats in there. VOILÀ! 3 to 4 minute of movement/exercise every 30 minutes of the work day equals 48 to 64 minutes! YA BABY! Hey, but don’t stop at that! Head to the gym, the park, the soccer field, the pool etc, and get lifting, pushing, pulling, twisting to get your muscles strong to be mobile and of course get some cardio in there (just stay away from the treadmill and machines that are not functional… that is a topic for another time!)
Did you actually squat today?
If there was only one exercise that I would have to choose as the ultimate one to do on a daily basis, well the squat would be it.
We all squat first thing in the morning. GREAT! But, our porcelain throne may be holding us back from properly voiding and eliminating. We actually need our knees higher than what our thrones permit. Solution? Get yourself a ‘’Squattie Pottie’’. I have re-created the scenario of how to use the Squattie Pottie in the following picture without you having to get the true visual (you are welcome!)
Here is the down and dirty about using our toilet properly. Funny that on a hair dryer or a remote control there are weird educational tidbits like: do not put in dishwasher or use while in the bath…. duh! But there are no instructions when you get a toilet installed. Here are the instructions: Use the Squattie Pottie to elevate your knees to simulate the squat position. Lean forward rather than sit up tall. Be patient and do not bear down to void. Ladies, make sure you try a variety of angles to void your bladder. When using a public toilet… ugh, I actually cringe to say this because it is TOTALLY out of my comfort zone, but we need to sit and not hover ( I have to admit I have been the Queen of hovering in public restrooms) We need to clean the surface, or put a protective barrier and SIT. Hovering tells our system to contract and hold it in.
Finally, let’s get to the actual SQUAT.
Here are some illustration of what you can do to prepare for a proper, effective squat. Before we go into that, why in the world do we want to squat anyways? The easy answer is that we develop strong Glutes (Butts) when we do squats properly. A strong Butt leads to a healthy pelvic alignment, which allows for proper mobility AKA you can move without pain and have fun in life. You also ensure a healthy pelvic floor. Once again you get to have fun in life when the muscles of your pelvic floor work properly!! You need to attend one of my Pelvic Floor Muscle Health workshops to get the scoop on all of that. Yes, we squat in that workshop!!
How to prepare for a Squat:
Roll the bottom of your feet with a therapy ball
Stretch your calves, wake up your hamstrings and move your ankles. Tight calves and immobile ankles are usually the main culprit for ineffective squatting movement.
Prepare your back for the proper alignment. It is preferred to keep your sacrum nutated during the movement. What does that mean? Keep your tailbone/butt back.
Try the squat with a mat behind your knees with hour heels up. It prepares your Quads and is easy on the knees. You will be surprised as to how pleasant this is, especially with a furry friend as a companion 🙂
Progress into to squat by sitting then getting up off of a high platform such as a chair, then go for lower and lower heights. Hold onto a solid surface like a post or door so that you feel safe when you start to sit back into the squat. Use a mat to keep your heels elevated until you develop enough mobility of the ankle to handle keeping your heels on the floor and keep proper back alignment. Do your best not to lean forward as you get up. It is best if you push through the heels or mid foot to move straight up and down. This recruits your Glutes and keeps the knee from getting to an angle that is not that safe.
Notice how my back is not properly aligned in the second image? This is too deep a position for me to keep my tailbone back. I still have work to do on getting my body ready for a deeper squat… So I don’t go to the place where my body can get hurt!
I realize that there are a gazillion things to think of when doing a squat. Start slowly and progress logically for your body. You can always book a session with me to go over safe movement patterns to make sure you are building on a solid foundation.
Let me know how your Squats make a difference in your life!
Hikano Strategic Intervention Life and Wellness Coaching is all about a collaborative, supportive partnership between you and I that fosters good health promoting behaviors. I practice a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that I look at how all areas of your life are connected. I look to help you develop a greater self-awareness of your thoughts, emotions and actions and their influence on your well-being. We will look at a balanced, strategic approach to incorporating healthy choices for proper nutrition, activity and self-care that are specific to your needs.
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