Squats are a functional exercise - ones that help your body perform real life activities - and are one of the best and most natural ways of toning your body.
Contrary to what some may think, squats aren’t just for body builders or weight lifters; they’re for everyone wanting to tone up at any age.
When you bend 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 exercises can be done with or without weights. Either way you’ll benefit.
Six major benefits of doing squats
1. Squats help build 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!
2. Squats burn calories fast. Because they help you build muscle, you’ll become more efficient at burning calories so you can get to that slimmer physique faster. Add weights to your squats and you’ll burn the calories even quicker.
3. Squats help improve flexibility. Improving your flexibility should be part of any well-rounded workout trainingplan. 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.
4. Squats help with mobility and 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.
5. Squats help strengthen your lungs and heart. The effort required to squat helps strengthen your cardiac muscles and improve your lung capacity, especially once you start adding weights.
6. Squats can help prevent injuries. Most athletic and workout 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.