SQUATS - A Boost to Overall Fitness*
If you are looking for an effective and powerful way to boost your overall fitness, then it is suggested that performing squats should be part of your exercise routine.
Although squats are often regarded as "leg" exercises, they actually offer benefits throughout your entire body.
Whenever a 'positive lifestyle' is mentioned and recommended, exercise is always a part of it. Exercise is essential for good health and disease prevention. For example, in a report by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, exercise is the second recommendation to protect against cancer (see my March 2008 newsletter Prevention of Cancer: Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer).
Many of my newsletters (available at www.huntlycentre.com.au) refer to the need for, and the benefits of, regular exercise, for example:
- June 2008: Health Benefits of Weight Reduction and Exercise.
- November 2010: The Health Benefits of Exercise.
- April 2013: Exercise - The Secret of Better Health.
Why are Squats such a Good Exercise?
- Squats help to build your leg muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. They also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building. Research has shown that squats are so intense that they trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone, which are vital for muscle strength and growth.
- Squats are a functional exercise. That is, they help your body to perform real-life activities. Squats are one of the best functional exercises. When you perform squats, you build muscles and help your muscles to work more efficiently, as well as promote mobility and balance.
- Squats will be beneficial in helping to prevent hip fractures by maintaining mobility and balance, hence preventing falls.
- Squats burn up calories/kilojoules, and so help in weight control.
- Squats will help prevent injury by improving your flexibility, since they improve the range of motion in your ankles and hips.
- If you enjoy athletics, there a link between squatting strength and athletic ability. Specifically, squatting helps athletes run faster and jump higher.
- Few exercises work as many muscles as squats do, benefiting not only your legs but also your gluteal muscles and your abdominal muscles.
- Squats also improve the pumping of bodily fluids, aiding in the removal of waste and delivery of nutrition to all tissues, including organs and glands.
- Squats are a low impact exercise and thus they do not put undue strain on knees, ankles and back. Squats have been criticised in the past for being destructive to the knees but, if done properly, squats actually improve knee stability.
- Squats can be done anywhere and no equipment is needed. There is no cost involved.
How to Perform a Squat
- Warm up, if needed
- Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart
- Extend your arms straight out, at shoulder level, pointing forward
- Keep your back straight, in a neutral position, your chest and shoulders up
- Keep looking straight ahead, for example, at a spot on the wall
- Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, eventually being able to reach a 90-degree angle
- Return to starting position. Repeat 15-20 times, for 2-3 sets, daily
A detailed, photo-illustrated "how to" can be viewed at
Squats are one type of exercise that should be a part of everyone's fitness routine, as they provide whole-body benefits.
*Copyright 2015: The Huntly Centre.
Disclaimer: All material in the huntlycentre.com.au website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a health professional regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations expressed herein, with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.Back to the list Print friendly version