Squatting is one of our most fundamental movement patterns. We have to squat in one way or another to basically get up from any position. It is the starting point just to get from one place to another. This movement is crucial to our livelihood and yet it is one of the most broken movements I see people perform.
In the grand scheme of human history we have gone from “hunter/gatherer” to “Netflix and Chill” in a very short period of time. Among the dumpster fire of issues that has resulted, sitting and basic lack of movement may be one of the worst things that’s happened to us across the board. Movement and exercise affects your heart, brain and waistline- just to name a few. Movement is one of the big keys to unlocking the door to a healthy happy life and we have very quickly thrown that key away. Most people sit at home on comfy couches, sit at work on chairs, come back home and sit for dinner, sit for TV and then go to bed. I’ve had some clients tell me that the bulk of their exercise comes from walking to and from the car. Did you know your ability to get up off the ground- i.e. squatting- is directly related to your likelihood of dying from all causes? Yeah, exactly.
So I won’t go through how your range of motion reduces and changes over time, instead I’m going to give you two quick tips on how to fix it.
MOVE. FULLY AND OFTEN
When I say fully, I mean through full range of motion. Squatting down to a chair isn’t good enough. Barring any permanent damage or injuries you should be able to squat past parallel keeping an upright torso and keeping your heels flat on the floor. If you cannot do this then more stretching and mobility work are in order. Full range of motion movement has been shown to actually be beneficial in increasing the longevity of your joints.
When I say often, I mean every day. The brain learns through repetition. It doesn’t know between good and bad, it just knows what you do most often and gets good at that. I always tell clients “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. So make sure you stretch and move through full range of motion (or as much as you can do) every day and pay attention to how your body feels.
EAT TO REDUCE INFLAMMATION.
Inflammation will hinder your body in many ways. One of the most noticeable ways is the ease with which your body can move. Inflammation in your joints(arthritis) will increase pain and greatly decrease you bodies ability to move. By eating the right foods and more importantly, avoiding the bad ones, you can greatly reduce chronic inflammation in the body. Less inflammation equals less pain. Less pain equals greater freedom of movement. Greater movement equals a healthier you.