Our sitting 'epidemic' is contributing to many back problems and chronic pain conditions as the body basically switch off because it no longer needs to support itself. Prolonged sitting can lead to many postural changes, such as:
Your buttocks switch off, which means they no longer able to support you to walk, run, jump, sit down and stand up;
Your abdominal muscle switch off causing your posture to collapse in on itself;
Your hips become less mobile and less able to do their job of stabilising and balancing the body;
Too much sitting and too little moving weakens your bones;
Too much sitting puts pressure on your discs and increase the risk of back pain and disc prolapse.
So, what can we do?! Let's squat! In many traditional cultures people squat instead of sitting and in these cultures back pain is almost non-existent, as are many of the digestive disorders common in the western world.
Squatting is a natural position that extends the lumbar spine. It also helps to increase the flexibility and health of the joints in the hips, knees and ankles.
By practicing squatting regularly you can help your body to undo many of the restrictions that have developed and will be contributing to your chronic pain. It is one of the most effective ways of returning your body to better balanced health and it is simple to do.
If you can't fully squat comfortably with your feet flat on the floor, try the halfway position as in figure 1.2. When you first squatting, you might find you tip backwards as you drop your bottom down - to prevent this, hold onto a table leg or similar (see figure 1.3)
Top tips for squatting:
Practice it daily. Start with 1 minute and build up from there.
Do not expect to be perfect when you start. If you are too stiff just get down as far as is comfortable and progress from there.
Keep your feet flat on the floor. Do not lift your heels as this will not stretch properly.
Keep your legs wide and point your toes out. Then wider your stance, the further down you can get.
Hold on to something if you need to begin with.
Relax while you are down there.
If you feel a bit more adventurous, increase the time of your squatting; go deeper and further down; feel the freedom of movement in your hips. You could also try squatting whilst balancing on a stability disc as in the video below.... I had a bit of a hard time finding my initial balance!
Make squatting a new healthy habit! Squatting is good for everyone. If you would like some guidance with this activity and with other stretches, I offer 30 minutes Zoom video call to guide you through simple exercises to support you in your journey towards more flexibility and better health. Book an initial consultation here.
Source: Living pain free by A. Oswald