by Jake Sterny
Everybody poops. There I said it. Your friends do it, your parents do it, boys and girls do it and yes, even your spouse or significant other does it. Gross, right(I know..shocker)? This is kind of a weird way to start an article on fitness, but the point I’m trying to get across does not have to do with the process of pooping. Nothing tied to digestion, nutrition or even the value of a Squatty Potty in your home bathroom(which is hands down one of the best bathroom tools of our time). I’m talking about the process it takes to actually sit and stand to and from a toilet seat.
Our bodies are amazing things. In terms of mammals we are one of the most complex species on the planet gifted with the ability to accomplish amazing feats. Humans have climbed Mount Everest, flown around the world and done so with the help of this amazing thing we call a body. Sometimes, however, the abilities of our body are taken for granted. One example of this is its ability to go from a standing to a sitting position and back again without us having to give it much thought. I want you to try something for me really quickly. No matter where you are reading this I want you to try standing or sitting while being really mindful of everything your body is doing. Where do you feel tightness and stretch? What muscles feel tired? How is the pressure distributed in your feet? Go ahead..I’ll wait. Now, I want you to think about the last thing you ate in great detail while again trying to stand or sit. Freaky, right? I don’t need to see you to know that you probably didn’t fall over while thinking about that burrito(and if you did, keep reading this article because you need some help).
As we get older if we are unable to or do not take good care of our bodies, they tend to break down quicker over time. One of the reasons most older citizens in our population are put in full time care facilities or are required to have in home care is because they cannot take care of themselves. Areas related to this is a loss of independence consist of such things as an ability to get out of bed, an ability to cook/clean and even bathroom activities. Yes, if you do not take care of your body it can get harder to stand or sit as you age and therefore you will need the assistance of a piece of equipment(handrail) or help from some nurse named Jim if you want to do something as simple as sit on a toilet seat to poop. For me, as cool as having a personal assistant sounds I do not want to have to rely on someone else to help me poop(nah bro…I’m good). This is where the value of squatting comes in.
When we sit and stand there are a lot of things going on during this process. Your brain begins by sending electrical signals to your muscles to initiate the correct movement patterns associated with sitting or standing. Your leg and glute muscles begin to fire to allow you to sit and the muscles of your lower back and even you core, fire to ensure stability and protect you spine as you sit or stand. Your brain also is in charge of making sure you are balanced and oriented correctly in your environment so you do not fall over. If the body is kept healthy, this process as you noticed earlier, can become almost automatic. When our bodies are not, however, it can become very difficult to sit or stand without a great amount of effort. HOw do we fix this? Attending a regular class or becoming a part of some type fitness regime is key. One that involves some type of squatting to help maintain leg and core strength to make sitting an afterthought instead of using the same amount of physical effort required run a 10km.
Why is Squatting Valuable
It makes you look better naked? All the cool kids are doing it? No. Longevity. As good as those perks of working out regularly are, the more boring answer wins(bummer). This is the value really general physical conditioning as well. It improves quality of life and helps maintain it longer. You are able to maintain your independence. This is why programs such as CrossFit and Weightlifting are so valuable. CrossFit is constantly varied and helps you build a really good base of fitness which improves overall health. Weightlifting does this as well even though it is more focused on strength, any good weightlifting program will have its fair share of General Physical Preparedness work. Before I leave you I want you to ask yourself if you want to be in a full time care facility, where you get pudding everyday for lunch, or if you want to be the crazy older person who is climbing mountains, jumping out of planes and still pooping by themselves. I choose the latter.