The number of times I have heard people say that they have been told they “shouldn’t squat”- or do anything with any kind of weight – is fairly high. I don’t know who gives this advice out, but I’d like to meet them and have a bit of a friendly word.
My main problem with this is that the squat is a normal, regular human movement. In fact, every time you sit down, you do the down portion of a squat, and every time you stand up, you do the up portion of the squat. Why do I get a bee in my bonnet about it?
It’s a pretty important movement!
Think about getting older…. Think about being a bit weaker in your legs. Imagine having a hard time getting up out of a chair EVERY time you stand up. Sound familiar? – either to you, or about a family member?
Now imagine sitting on the toilet. Now stand up. The up portion of the squat seems pretty damn important now, doesn’t it?
I met someone the other day who has to consider where she goes to visit based on whether or not there is a solid thing near the toilet to ensure that she can get back to a standing position whilst maintaining dignity.
We are now working on a sit-to-stand from a chair- with weights. If we can get her to the point where she is standing from a seated position with a 10kg weight, she’ll have no problem getting off a toilet, and she won’t have to think about where she can and can’t visit based on the availability of things to pull on in a cubicle.
This is the reason for me – as a physiotherapist – for pushing people to do their exercises, to look at what they can and cannot do. I’m not just getting people to lift weights for the sheer amusement of it – there is a very very good reason. Independence, ability to maintain dignity in old age. The ability to be able.
Just because we get older doesn’t mean we have to get weaker. It is a choice to become feeble- just as it is a choice to stay strong. Get out there, pick up something, squat with it. You won’t damage yourself, but you might just keep yourself fit for longer.