Prejudice is not the only reason that prevents us from adopting a healthy posture.
We sit all the time: at the dinner table and at the desk, on the way to and from work, in an armchair with a book and on the sofa in front of the TV. And only sometimes we spend time on the way from one chair to another and on short sports. Even if you exercise enough, but stay in a sitting position for a long time, you still run the risk of Too Much Sitting: The Population ‑ Health Science of Sedentary Behavior. get health problems and die early.
But the good news is that we can reduce the harm from this lifestyle by squatting more often. This is good not only for the joints, but also for the body as a whole.
How does squatting pose affect health
In his book “Muscles and meridians. Manipulation of shape ”(Muscles and Meridians: The Manipulation of Shape) New Zealand osteopath Philip Beach formulated the theory of archetypal postures. Its essence is that there are primary positions that our ancestors adopted two and a half million years ago. And they’re not just helpful. Our body itself is designed so that a person can stay in a certain position for a long time without harm to the body. Including – squatting, in Turkish or Japanese style (on your knees with support on your heels).
There is no scientific research supporting the theory of archetypal postures. But medicine does not deny their benefits.
It all comes down to a simple “use it or lose it” principle. Each of our joints has synovial fluid. It is like a lubricant that nourishes the cartilage. For fluid to be produced, two things are needed: movement and compression. If a joint does not move in its full range, for example, the hip and knee joints never flex more than 90 degrees, the body thinks that it is not being used – and stops producing synovial fluid.
physiotherapist Bahram Jam
In other words, if you want to maintain joint mobility and flexibility for as long as possible, bend your knees to the fullest often. For example, squat down. Research also confirms the positive effect of this position on peristalsis. Implementation of a Defecation Posture Modification Device of the intestine.
A healthy musculoskeletal system not only makes us flexible and agile, it affects life expectancy.
Doctors in Brazil and the United States have concluded that flexibility, muscle strength and balance are essential for a long, healthy life. They asked study participants to sit down on the floor and then get up in a comfortable way. Observations of the ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality in patients aged 51 to 80 years have shown that those who get up with ease have a life expectancy of three years longer than those who cannot rise without support.
What prevents us from squatting
One of the possible reasons it becomes difficult to get up without support is that as we age, we are less likely to squat. Deep squatting, though, is a form of outdoor activity that has been an integral part of our past. We just forgot how to sit down to be comfortable and we lost the skill of getting up effortlessly.
Another explanation has to do with the evolution of toilets. When pots and toilet bowls replaced the holes in the ground, there was no need to squat down. Now it is physically difficult for us to be in such a position, and therefore we avoid it.
Other benefits of civilization also interfere with taking a useful posture. Sitting like this in the office can be extremely beneficial for the hip joints, but the modern person’s wardrobe, not to mention business etiquette, makes this impossible. A rare case when we vividly imagine a politician or a top-manager in a squatting suit is a staged photograph with cute kids. At the same time, people sitting in the same position on the sidewalk most often make us want to pass by as soon as possible.
This posture is considered primitive and is associated with low social status. We immediately imagine Indian peasants or African nomads, remember the unsanitary conditions on the city streets.
physiotherapist Bahram Jam
While this may seem uncomfortable and unworthy to us, many people around the planet still take this posture to rest, pray, prepare food, or go to the toilet. In countries with a shortage of hospitals, women continue to give birth in this position. Small children around the world, when they learn to walk, squat down – and easily get up to move on.
How often do you need to squat
Do not rush to say goodbye to the chairs in order to return to your “original” haunches. The same Philip Beach warns: any pose leads to problems if you stay in it for too long. This is confirmed by studies of the Association of squatting with increased prevalence of radiographic tibiofemoral knee osteoarthritis: the Beijing Osteoarthritis Study in China and the United States: those who squat for hours more often have knee pain and osteoarthritis – damage to various tissues of the joints. If in ordinary life you do not do this, feel free to squat more often. It will only benefit.