by Nishant Mandal
Squats are a functional exercise – ones that help your body perform real life activities. Contrary to what some may think, squats aren’t just for body builders or weight lifters; they’re for everyone at any age and they can be done anywhere, at any time, without the need for specific equipment. Some people even say that squatting is the best exercise you can do.
When you go down to tie your shoelaces or to pick up something from the floor, you are actually squatting. It’s a natural form of exercise. The only difference between those actions and squatting workouts is that while doing squat exercises, you deliberately maintain a correct posture to gain some intended benefit.
Squat can be done with or without weights. Either way will benefit you, by adding weights will lead to improvements to overall muscle mass. However, if you do use weights be sure to squat correctly to avoid injury. Lets look at some specific benefits of including squats in your daily routine although the benefits listed are not the only ones you’ll get . These are just some of the universal ones and many others will vary from person to person.
Builds muscle: They don’t just help you achieve wonderful, toned legs; they promote body-wide muscle building by creating an anabolic (muscle building) environment in the body. They work up your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, abdominal muscles, lower back and your butt too. Not many exercises can claim to recruit so many muscles at the same time!
Impoved calorie burn: Because they help you build muscle, you’ll become more efficient at burning calories so you can get to that slimmer fitter physique faster. Add weights to your squats and you’ll burn the calories even quicker.
Improved flexibility: Improving your flexibility should be part of your lifestye. Our muscles, tendons and ligaments become less elastic with age so doing all we can to slow down this process is a good idea. Squatting regularly will see you limber up and become more flexible as the exercise involves bending and stretching of the leg muscles.
Mobility & Balance: Strong legs are essential for staying mobile as you get older, and that’s where squats come in. Not only do they develop leg strength, they also work out your core, stabilising muscles. These muscles help you to maintain balance, while also improving the communication between your brain and your muscle groups, which helps prevent falls.
Injury prevention: Most injuries involve weak ligaments, connective tissues and stabiliser muscles (muscles that aren’t directly involved in a movement, but work to keep you steady so that your primary muscles can do their job). Squats actually help to strengthen these supportive tissues, which can mean the difference between an injury or not. Remember, though, technique is paramount when performing any exercise – including squats – in order to avoid injury.
Healthy joints and bones: As squatting engages your hips, knees and ankles at the same time, the load not only helps build muscle, but also improves joint health and joint strength. it helps with overall strength which is great for younger people, and also older people who may have a low bone density. The strengthening will therefore help with injury prevention.
Posture: With improved core strength and leg strength, your posture will also benefit. This is because posture is influenced by muscles in your front back, which work together. However, be sure to combine squatting with stretching and mobilising!
Improved digestion and circulation: An overlooked benefit of doing squats relates to circulation and digestion. The speed in which fluids travel through your body is improved while exercising your leg muscles, which allows more oxygen and nutrients to travel through your body’s organs. This includes improvements to small intestine efficiency.
Naturally, with all of these improvements, daily tasks such as getting up from a seated position or lifting objects will become easier which is especially important for later in life.
In addition, squats are perfect for cardio and sports that involve the lower body. They’ll help you move and play longer. Similar to other exercises, squatting properly is critical to ensure you maximise the benefits and prevent injury. The best way of learning to squat correctly is to ask your personal trainer.
To gain maximum benefits from the exercise, you should accompany squat workouts with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Nishant Mandal is a certified Personal trainer/Online fitness coach based out of Delhi NCR. He is ACE-CPT, Crossfit L-1, PN-L1 certified and Calisthenics enthusiast, Deadlift Junkie, Movement & Mobility expertise
He gets people to move and better themselves since 2010, through individualised and challenging routines, but not much than what one can’t handle. You can connect with him at