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One of the first things that surprised me upon arriving in India was the ease with which people did their daily activities sitting on their haunches. Especially outside the big cities, people cook, bathe, talk, wait and even rest in this position.
This form of squatting, however, is peculiar. Most people do it with their heels well attached to the floor and their buttocks almost touching the floor. The most shocking thing is that they do it from the youngest to the oldest. They do it so naturally that it seems very easy and comfortable.
I only managed to “rest” in this position just several years after practicing yoga.
When I started working in an office, it did not take even weeks for my back to begin to hurt.
I spoke with several experts who agreed that “sitting in a chair for so many hours is very bad for our body,” in the words of internist Ronesh Sinha, who specializes in health and wellness programs for companies in Silicon Valley.
Dr. Sinha recommends, in dialogue with BBC Mundo, to limit the time of sitting at 20 or 30 minute intervals. “Even in the office, change your position as much as you can, stand up every now and then, you can even keep working making phone calls or taking notes.”
Squat from time to time and the action of putting yourself in that position, the squat, can be very beneficial for your health.
Here the reasons, according to experts.
1. It is a more active position
“Sitting in a chair is a passive position, squatting is much better, because it activates all the muscles that maintain our postural correction ,” explains Luis Barrio, director of the Anicca Therapy and Movement Center in Madrid. Like the other experts warns that this does not mean that they avoid all back problems and other ailments, but they have much lower incidence.
2. Helps to defecate more easily
The sitz baths spread westward from the sixteenth century. But in Asia still many of the bathrooms are on the floor, so you have to do squatting.
For the defenders of this position, the anatomy of the human body is designed to defecate like this because this allows a better angle between the large intestine, the rectum and the anus, so the faeces come out more easily. “It’s a more active position in which the sphincters and pelvic floor seek balance between abdominal pressure and pelvic floor pressure,” says Barrio.
3. For some women, it may be the best delivery position
It depends on the phase of delivery, it could be the best posture, explains Barrio. He says that when the baby is coming down the birth canal it would not be so recommendable, but when it is already in the phase of expulsion, it is highly recommended “For the placement of the pelvis and the sacrum that allow a greater opening for the passage of the baby ”
However, it clarifies that childbirth is a personal thing and that each woman should choose how she feels more comfortable.
Kenny Shulman, a midwife in the United States, says the squat is the best posture to give birth, even though this is reproduced lying on the back, but with the knees raised, emulating this position. ” This opens up the pelvis more and makes it easier for the baby to get out of . When it is upright, the force of gravity also helps,” he tells BBC Mundo.
Squats, and have more strength in the legs
The movement, or squat exercise, or squats, are also very beneficial, experts explain.
4. Help against diabetes and weight control
Having stronger legs helps prevent or relieve diabetes cases, explains Dr. Sinha.
“The same rice dish can result in more or less blood sugar level of two people, depending on how much strength they have in the muscles.The metabolism of a person with stronger legs burns more sugar,” says Sinha. Although nuances that not only the muscles of the legs count, but these are the largest and therefore those that burn more sugars and fats.
” Against diabetes, the first thing I recommend is controlling diet, but strengthening the legs is the second most important thing, ” he says.
5. Improves posture, back and neck pain
Squatting and squats help a greater range of movement in the hips, which helps to relieve pressure on the neck and back, explains Sinha. He says that sitting in a chair for so long hardens the hamstring muscles (those in the back of the muscles), which causes pain in the back and neck, among other things.
The squatting posture “keeps the elastic and flexible connective tissues,” explains the Spanish physiotherapist.
6. Help your sports performance. Increase strength throughout the body
The squats “when done correctly and with a good program, will increase the power of the muscles.” That makes it one of the fundamental exercises for athletes who seek to improve their performance, “explains to BBC Mundo Aaron Horschig doctor in physiotherapy of the sport and former American weightlifter at the Olympic Games.
7. Increase your life expectancy
“There are many studies that explain how muscle loss and weakness is related to the death and one lower life expectancy , ” adds Horschig.
A study from King’s College London found in 2015 that the strongest factor related to better brain health in adulthood is having strong legs .
C OW start
To start doing squats, Dr. Sinha recommends: try out how many squats you can do on your own. It is not necessary to reach the 90 degrees of the legs, but only to where you are comfortable. If necessary, start by helping with a chair.
Do 10 in the morning and 10 in the evening. As you gain strength in the legs put less weight on the arms. And then do it without help. If you do it without difficulty , you can go putting weight.
One trick is “remember to do the squats when you relate them to a daily activity, for example, if you brush your teeth twice a day, that is your reminder “.
The only contraindication to squats, according to Dr. Horschig, is: “If you have an injury or you’re recovering from it, the pain is like the warning light in the car, if you ignore it and continue, things can get worse.”