Welcome to this week’s Designer Physique post. Earlier this week, I found my interest piqued by an article titled “The Forgotten Art Of Squatting Is A Revelation For Bodies Ruined By Sitting”
As I read the article, I realised its truth — in the Western world, we all sit for long periods of time. And excessive sitting is a separate problem from not getting enough exercise.
“Every joint in our body has synovial fluid in it. This is the oil in our body that provides nutrition to the cartilage,” Jam says. “Two things are required to produce that fluid: movement and compression. So if a joint doesn’t go through its full range—if the hips and knees never go past 90 degrees—the body says ‘I’m not being used’ and starts to degenerate and stops the production of synovial fluid.”
“A healthy musculoskeletal system doesn’t just make us feel lithe and juicy, it also has implications for our wider health. A 2014 study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that test subjects who showed difficulty getting up off the floor without support of hands, or an elbow, or leg (what’s called the “sitting-rising test”) resulted in a three-year-shorter life expectancy than subjects who got up with ease. “
As well as the squat, the article also mentions kneeling on knees and heels, and sitting cross legged and with all of these it’s a case of “use it or lose it.”
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Later, in the office and warehouse, I looked around at all of our staff. The staff here are aged from 18 to over 70. Office staff mainly sat for most of the day and in the warehouse, the staff were also sat down when they weren’t standing.
3 years is a long time to trim off your life, just because you stopped squatting, and so I wanted to think about ways I could incorporate the necessary positions into my daily routine.
Yoga and Pilates seemed an easy answer, but unless you’re doing them every day you aren’t really getting anywhere near the same amount of squat, kneel and cross leg time that your ancestors used to get.
I found a series of exercises you can perform in about 15 minutes each day, which will help improve your hip mobility and I’ve been doing them for nearly a week now.
I can feel the difference already.
I think I need to sit down.
Update 3rd April 2018:
I was contacted by Kyran, who has this excellent article on working out your legs, titled “Ultimate Leg Workout – Leg Exercises To Build Stronger Wheels“