While many women are disciplined when it comes to doing squats routinely, much of the time it’s for the benefit of their physical appearance, not their physical health. Doing squats, however, is an exercise that when done properly leads to a variety of health benefits including better posture and injury prevention. There are several benefits that stem from having strong glutes, and your glutes play a more important role than you may realize. And, of course, squats will also result in achieving that appealing behind. In short, doing squats properly and regularly will result in a win-win situation when it comes to your physical appearance and your body’s health. Here are 10 reasons why all women need to do more squats.
1. Better Physical Performance
Your glutes are the biggest muscle on your body, so strengthening your glutes will of course lead to better physical performance and better physical shape. Julie Paul, Vancouver-based Physiotherapist explains “strong glutes are the foundation for movement including stabilizing the body for walking, running, balancing, jumping, climbing and playing sports. They are the powerhouse of the body. When the glutes work well, the body can generate force and power, which translates into better performance.”
2. Better Posture
The fact that squatting builds your gluteus maximus muscle and your core muscles means that squatting will lead to better posture. Having good posture comes with many health benefits such as better digestion, better breathing and reduced back pain. Not to mention, the ability to easily maintain an upright posture simply looks better (and more professional) than a slouchy posture does. Those with upright postures appear to be more confident, more mature and subconsciously come across as better candidates for promotions and jobs.
3. Injury Prevention
If the average person works 9-5 sitting at a desk all day, and doesn’t go to the gym to do a bunch of squats after work, their glutes are becoming weaker and weaker due to their glutes remaining inactive throughout each day. Julie Paul says, “due to most workplace postures and overall lifestyle, our glutes are inactive for most of the day, and therefore we use compensation patterns and different muscles to stabilize ourselves and function. Having weak glutes can put us at risk of injuries such as muscle strains or ligament sprains if our muscles don’t fire correctly.”
If you’re sitting for most of the day, and your glutes are not having to work, you likely currently have weak glutes. But if you start getting into routine squatting practices, you can strengthen your glutes dramatically in no time.
4. You’ll learn the proper way to squat
If you take the time to take squats seriously, you can train yourself to do a proper squat, which Julie says is very important for injury prevention, but also for muscle strength and endurance: “squatting can be a great body weight or resisted strength training exercise for the legs, hips, and core. Having proper alignment, biomechanics, muscle strength and endurance will contribute to a proper squat, which is a natural movement we do every day. For example, when sitting down or standing up from furniture or walking up stairs. “
The best way to learn to squat properly is through practice (so the more squats you do, the better) but also by having a fitness professional watch you do your squats. A fitness professional will be able to tell you if your form, technique and positioning are correct while you do this exercise.
5. To feel confident
Let’s face it, having a nice derriere is something many women feel extra-beautiful if they possess. A nicely shaped buttocks definitely adds to our sex-appeal as women. This leads to confidence – especially when you start to notice how much better you look in those fitted jeans. Squats definitely round out, shape and firm the buttocks beautifully, so there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the vanity aspect of squatting in addition to the health benefits.
6. You’ll burn more fat
For every pound of muscle your body gains, you’ll burn an additional 50-70 calories per day. Considering how big of a muscle your gluteus maximus is, building that muscle through the exercise of squatting will of course result in you burning more calories throughout your day, and burning more fat. Since we know that working our muscles through strength training leads to more calories being burned throughout the day, it’s common sense that working out a big muscle like the gluteus maximus would be ideal for those of us who want to burn more calories both during and after our workout sessions.
7. Squats also tighten and tone your core and legs
The movement of squatting targets other muscles in the body besides the glutes, including your core and your legs. Squatting is known to promote full-body muscle building because of the number of muscles the exercise targets such as your abdomen, hamstrings, quads, calves, lower back, glutes, and even your arms if you squat while holding a weighted medicine ball. If you keep in mind that squatting is actually a full-body workout, you’ll be extra-motivated to do squats more often. Exercises like this that target multiple areas of the body are ideal for achieving noticeable results.
8. For your life’s challenges
Strong glutes allow you to face life’s physical challenges more easily and look out for your own safety much more efficiently. When I say safety, I don’t just mean the obvious things like preventing injuries caused by weak glutes. It may seem far-fetched, but if you ever had to run away from a threatening person or situation, having strong glutes will contribute to how fast you can run and how long you can run for before getting tired. Whether you have to jump, run or climb away from something – you’ll have a better shot at survival with strong glutes. Strong glutes prevent falls, too, because as our expert Physio Julie said, this movement helps with your body’s stability.
9. For improved circulation
Squatting stretches your muscles and gets the blood pumping throughout your entire body, which improves your circulation. Good circulation increases blood flow and allows oxygen and nutrients to flow throughout your body which increases your overall health and reduces cellulite. Poor circulation can cause some health problems such as obesity, increased risk of blood clots, and irregular body temperature. Since the movement of a squat truly gets your entire body moving, this exercise will get blood flowing and improve circulation.
10. Because you can literally do a squat anywhere
Considering how convenient this exercise is to do, it’s surprising we don’t squat more often. You don’t need any equipment to squat, so with that in mind we should be taking little breaks to do squats during work hours or while watching TV. Although you don’t have to be in a gym to do a squat, it’s still ideal to do them at the gym because you’ll have access to weighted medicine balls (hold one while squatting for an extra challenge) as well as lots of mirrors to make sure your form and technique are both accurate.