Some people might be under the impression that they cannot do squats and lunges. There are also some people who believe that these exercises are bad for you. What do you think??
Before you make any judgments on these two exercises, let me ask you a few questions:
-Have you ever had to sit down and stand up from a chair?
-Have you ever sat down on a toilet and gotten up again?
-Have you ever tripped or lost your balance, but caught yourself with one leg in front just in time?
-Have you ever gotten up from the ground using one leg in front to help you stand?
If you answered yes to one or more of the questions above, then you have done or are already doing at least one variation of squats and lunges. Now the really important question is whether or not you’d like to be able to do the above activities successfully on your own without assistance now and in the future. Being able to sit and stand (squats) and catch yourself on one leg if you trip (lunge) are crucial to healthy daily function and aging. Since none of us are getting younger (sigh), whether you’re 23 or 83, this message applies to you.
There are seven primal movements that humans should be able to do well in order to fully function in daily activities:
Lose your ability to do any one of these movements and life is instantly more challenging. I specifically chose squatting and lunging for the blog topic today because many people express their dislike of these movements or say that they cannot do them.
While it’s true that certain variations of squats and lunges don’t work for everyone, there are variations of each exercise that can be done by most of the population. For example: a deep squat might be painful for someone with a knee injury like a meniscus tear, but a different squat variation that mimics getting in and out of a chair might be a better and very functional option that will still get you results. Contrary to popular belief, trainers don’t have you do these exercises just to torture you. We as trainers understand the importance of being able to do these movements so that you can live a pain-free life and enjoy the activities that you love. We’ll always challenge you to try more difficult variations when you’re ready for them, but understand that we do so because we want daily life to feel easy for you. The more challenged you are with squats and lunges in your workouts, the easier everyday movements (like getting in and out of a low chair or controlling your body while standing on one leg) will feel.
If you’ve been diagnosed with an injury or health issue that may impact your ability to squat and lunge, it’s worth working with a physical therapist and a personal trainer to help you discover all of the ways you can still function well despite any injuries you may have. The bottom line is that squatting and lunging are important movements to master and continue to practice for healthy aging. In other words: if you don’t use it, you lose it!
It’s your turn: Apply what you’ve learned!
Today’s blog is all about shifting your mindset. Instead of telling yourself “I can’t do x”, focus on what you can do. Continue to practice the movements that you can do well, like getting in and out of a chair without using your hands to help, and work toward more challenging progressions to build your strength and stamina. It’s really helpful to have a trainer help you with this since they will know the best ways to help you progress while reducing your risk of injury.
*Disclaimer: this article is not meant to serve as medical advice or a prescription for exercise. Please visit a physician before beginning an exercise program.