The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Save Knees When Squatting

American baseball catchers have the occupational risk of meniscus tears in their knees. Yoga practitioners of certain squatting moves like "the eagle" and the hindu squat are more likely to get the same meniscus cartilage tears and early joint wear and tear. Asians who routinely squat for so many activities of daily life don't get these injuries. The difference is keeping your heels down and your feet facing in the same direction as your knees.

Sitting in a full squat with your heels down and your weight back does not pressure the knees the way squatting with heels up does. Keep both heels down and keep your weight back on your heels.

People who are not accustomed to squatting often find that they are too tight in the Achilles tendon to sit all the way down. Many of these same people do Achilles tendon stretches every day, or at least they do a motion commonly taught as an Achilles stretch, but which barely stretches the Achilles. The "lunge and lean," is the least effective Achilles stretch. The post Better Achilles Tendon Stretch tells why and gives a better stretch to do instead. The squat is another good Achilles tendon stretch. It is a lifestyle stretch for the Achilles and lower back, and a hip, leg, and shin muscle strengthener. You get healthful natural exercise from regular daily life. Even if you can't get down to full sit, bend properly with both heels down for daily bending and you will get a free Achilles tendon stretch every time you bend, which is many many times a day. Holiday Leg and Abdominal Exercise tells more on this.

The trains here in Thailand have the luxury of a bathroom, including a squatting bowl. You can tell new tourists here. They are afraid of the bathroom. When we lived in Japan, even the gleaming modern Bullet train, the Shinkansen, had a spotlessly clean squat fixture. Train bathroomsgive you balance practice too, swaying with the train as it takes you to the next adventure.

There is more information in the replies already here to the many reader comments below this post. Before asking more, see if your answers are already here. Also click labels under each post, links in posts, and archives at right. Read success stories of these methods and send your own.

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Photo by Dr. Jolie Bookspan

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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.