Flat Footed Squat and Modern Posture
December 8th 2019 | Healthy, Happy and Not Injured: The Injury Shetland Blog
The Flat Footed Squat and Modern Posture
Western v Eastern or African society
We can learn a lot by watching young kids moving. We all learn how to move as efficiently as possible in the first few years of our lives and then we un-learn those abilities because we adopt adult postures, we forget to move regularly and we sit at our workstations or at home for too long. We are all guilty of that these days.
Let’s take one example. Try this right now. Stand up and place your feet around hip width apart. Now squat down as low as you can and keep your feet flat. You should be able to get your hips under your knees, keep your back relatively upright and find the movement easy. If you can’t, you’ve probably got some stiffness or weakness somewhere. Now try again holding a pole overhead with hands at shoulder width apart and elbows straight. Repeat the flat foot squat. You should be able to do this easily as well ideally. If you can’t then it can be one factor that could contribute to injury. Many people lean way forwards with this movement. That can signify anything from tight calf muscles to poor glute muscles. Both can contribute to injury.
If you look at African or Eastern societies, they often sit in this low squat position (on your hookers as we call it in Shetland) for long periods for example to go to the toilet or to eat. Our toddlers are easily able to sit in this position to make a jigsaw or play a game. So why can't we? Often our hips get lazy and our ankles get stiff. We become what we do. We become chair shaped. The modern posture in western society reflects this. Our hips move forwards, our backs lean backwards and our heads protrude forwards (what we call sway back in physio). It often leads to back pain or neck pain. Remember, if the body is not in the right position it can’t work properly.
Now try stretching your calf muscles. You could do a standing calf stretch with the hands against the wall and leg stretched out behind you, put your foot up on a step and let your heel drop, or do downward dog for example. Do this for around 30 seconds and then try the flat foot squat again. If you find it easier then you probably have some stiffness and you should stretch more regularly, sit less of the time and move in as many different ways as possible.
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