Now, I still sit to work at home, but I use an ergonomically designed knee chair and I stand as much as possible. (I am standing with my laptop on the counter as I write.) I swear by hip exercises as well, but the one movement that helps my hips most is the squat. The squat stretches the five hip adductors going from the pelvis to the thigh bone and from the pelvis to the knee. It helps the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes too. I squat on my knee chair and on the floor.
Westerners Don’t Know Squat
I believe westerners are neglecting a basic self-care activity by failing to routinely squat. In the Far East, India, Middle East, and Africa, squatting takes the place of sitting. Asians squat with their heels on the ground and knees aligned with the direction of their toes, but most Americans can’t place their feet on flat ground because their Achilles tendons have been shortened by wearing shoes and sitting in chairs. Their quads are weak, their hips don’t extend, and they fall over backwards when they squat.
How to Do the “Asian Squat”
To squat like an Asian, it’s important to first build up your Achilles tendons with foot and ankle exercises. And then, start by squatting with your back against a wall to prevent falling backwards. Keep your feet wide apart, align your knees over your feet, lower yourself slowly, rest your arms on your knees, and don’t sit down on the dirty ground! Next, practice squatting away from the wall with your back hunched over your knees. Now practice again and again until squatting is perfunctory.
Daniel Hsia, young filmmaker extraordinaire and bro of my pal, Sue Hsia Lew, made this video, “How to do the Asian Squat,” back in 2002. In my mind, Daniel’s spoof is a great public health intervention. Enjoy!
Your thoughts: Can you do the Asian Squat?
Also about hip exercises:
30 Days on the Rebound(er): Jumping on the Mini-trampoline
Jumping on the Mini-trampoline, 30 Days Later