Many believe that in the era of the modern technological advances, aging is a personal choice. However, although many cosmetic procedures, and hormone therapies may reverse the appearance of aging, it is our daily lifestyle which can either make us age more, or age less! What we eat, and how we function is not only a matter of personal choice, but it is the number one factor in the way we age, and the quality of our extended life. Discover how you can make it your personal choice in just 10 minutes a day!
Many of you have heard about Functional Fitness Training, but most are not familiar with what FFT is, or how it can benefit them throughout the inevitable aging process. As we age, our spine and joints become less supple, our muscles are not as strong, and our range of motion becomes more limited. Furthermore, as these natural and progressive changes are often ignored, our bodies become more susceptible to injuries. Some may experience difficulties or discomfort asthey attempt to perform routine daily tasks, such as picking up a child and placing them in a car seat; reaching for an item, turning around while seated, or even just brushing your teeth or washing your face over the bathroom sink. Sound familiar?
Well, that is because we cannot escape the “use it or lose it” Law of Aging. Furthermore, many of us have succumbed to a predominantly sedentary lifestyle, with occasional bouts of weekend-warrior physical activities; or worse, a misguided fitness routine which may cause more harm than good.
When we were children, we ran, and jumped, and skipped, and hopped, and never stopped. Although we have considerably less energy, our adult bodies are still meant to move regularly in a smooth, synergetic, and synchronized manner. FFT conditions the body to enable us to perform these daily activities without the risk of injury by engaging and recruiting all muscle groups simultaneously, while activating full range of motion in multiple joints in order to improve and enhance muscular endurance, overall strength, coordination, balance, posture, and agility. FFTmethodologies focus on a 3-deminsional integration of whole body exercise, rather than a two dimensional linear isolationexercises like weight lifting, or stagnant positioning like yoga.
Today, I will share with you one basic and simple total-body functional exercise which can be performed anytime, anyplace,anywhere, and which will help you to develop a strong lowerand upper body, reinforce your spine, and burn more calories at rest.
This exercise is The Basic Squat:
Why?!? Because, there is much more to the basic squat than one might think!
The Basic Squat is a fundamental strength-building exercise because not only does it build all major leg muscles, but it also creates an anabolic environment, which promotes whole-bodymuscle building. In fact, when done properly, basic squats are so intense that they trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone in the body, which are vital for muscle growth and will also help to improve muscle mass when you train other areas of your body aside from your legs.
Squats can actually help improve both the upper and the lower body strength, and assist in weight loss. For every pound of additional muscle gained, the body will burn an additional 50-70 calories per day. So, if you gain 10 pounds of muscle, you will automatically burn 500-700 more calories per day than you did before.
Maintain Mobility, Balance, and Bone Density
Strong legs are crucial for staying mobile as we get older, and squats are a fantastic weight bearing exercise for lower body strength development. In addition, squats also work the entire group of the core-set stabilizing muscles. This helps maintain balance, while also improving the coordination and communication between the brain and all muscle groups. Squatshelp prevent falls, maintain bone density, and prevent osteoporosis.
Most orthopedic injuries occur as a result of weak stabilizing muscles, ligaments and connective tissues. Properly executed squats help prevent injury by improving flexibility, increase range of motion, articulate ankles, improve knee stability, and strengthen the hip joints.
Maximize Sports Performance
Whether you’re a weekend warrior, golfer, or a mom who chases after a toddler, you’ll be interested to know that studies have linked squatting strength with athletic ability, agility, and endurance. Specifically, squatting helps athletes run faster, jump higher, and protect them from spinal and joint injuries, which is why this exercise is part of virtually every professional athlete’s training program.
Butts and Guts, and Total Bods
Few exercises work as many muscles as the squat, so it’s an excellent total body, multi-purpose activity. Squats tone and tighten your buns, core-set, and, of course, your legs. Furthermore, squats build your muscles, and these muscles participate in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity, helping to protect you against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Oxygenate, Detoxify, and Regulate
Squats improve circulation, aiding in waste removal and nutrient delivery to all tissues, including our organs and glands. They’re also useful for improving colon health and bowel habits.
Chronic Disease Prevention
Regular exercise is a key ingredient in disease prevention;optimal mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, longevity, and vitality. Truly, there is no better way to maintain your youth, energy, vitality and quality of life than engaging in regular and safe physical activity. Hundreds of scientific studieshave found that exercise reduces the risk of about two dozen chronic conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to Type-2 diabetes, stroke, dementia and depression. Exercise also slows down the rate of aging itself, even stimulating the regeneration of the energy-producing mitochondria in your cells, providing perhaps the closest example of a real life fountain of youth you will ever find.
How to Properly Perform – The Basic Squat:
Before engaging in any form of physical activity, always consult your physician. Prior to performing this routine, please make certain to engage in at least 10 minutes of moderate cardiovascular warm-up, and a 5 minute stretching routine to lengthen all the major leg muscles.
Initially, squats should be performed without the use of weights. Weights can be added incrementally as your conditioning improves (as shown in the photo above Photo provided by ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute)
1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
2. Keep your back straight in a neutral position, and keep your knees centered over your feet
3. Inhale as you lower your body by slowly bendingyour knees, hips and ankles, until you reach a 90-degree angle – as if you were to sit down on a chair
4. Exhale as you raise your body back to the starting (standing) position
5. Repeat 15-20 squats per set, for 2-3 sets for beginners – resting 1 minute between sets
6. Do this two or three times per week
Just Move it!