Squat ExerciseTip of the Week

Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle. Just like osteoporosis and arthritis, sarcopenia is a serious degenerative condition that increases one’s risks for falls and makes one more vulnerable to injury. Also, metabolic effects result when muscle—the body’s most metabolically active 

Metabolism is altered when there is less muscle, and many other consequences result, such as obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, and changes in the ability to regulate body temperature. In addition, since muscular contractions help keep bones strong, muscle loss can also weaken bones. Sarcopenia generally starts to set in around age 45, when muscle mass begins to decline at a rate of about 1 percent per year.

As muscle mass begins to decline, so does muscle strength and physically inactive adults will see a faster and greater loss of muscle mass than physically active adults. Women, face a greater risk than men, because women have less muscle than men, and those who have less muscle to begin with, generally have a greater loss.

Nutrition can also be a factor in the development of sarcopenia if one is not consuming adequate energy intake. Along with proper nutrition, a powerful intervention in the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia is resistance training (weight-lifting or strength training). Resistance training, when the intensity is high enough, works to build muscle by forcing the body to heal the damage to muscle cells that occur with use.

If you would only do one strength training exercise, do the Squat. No exercise works your body as one unit like squats.

Squat exercise

Squat exerciseStand up tall with feet shoulder width apart, toes turned out at about 30 degrees and make sure that your kneecap is aligned with your first two toes. Chest is up to prevent rounding of your back.

Look forward at eye level. Hold a bar (it could be a weighted bar or just a broomstick) behind your back on the muscles of your back shoulders below the bone at the top of your shoulder-blades. Bend through your knees with the bar on your back until your hips come slightly lower than parallel. That is until your hip joint comes slightly lower than your knee joint when looking from the side. Keep your hips back as when sitting on something low like your toilet.

Keep your weight on your heels and curl your toes up if needed. Never get on your toes. Push from your heels. Always make sure that your knees do not bend forward going over your toes. Never allow your knees to buckle in. Push your knees out. Pushing through your heels and squeezing your glutes, come back up to the beginning position.

That is a complete Squat. Squats, like many other resistance training exercises will help you keep your muscle mass and  your muscular strength, and will carry you with energy and good health throughout your whole life.

Published in Tip of the Week