Why squats are vital for young, elderly

May 16, 2016

Strong leg muscles can be the key to steadiness, no matter what age you are.

One of the most important exercises people can do to retain balance and strength as they get older is the squat.

Gozo said squats have other benefits. When done right, squats can also strengthen ankles and the core, she said.

"The squat is the best way to start, because we use our feet for so many things on a daily basis," she said.

Plus, so many variations are available — single leg squats, side squats, squat jumps, squat holds — that you shouldn’t get bored with the exercise.

"Our bodies should be able to move in all planes of motion in order to live long, functional lives," Gozo said.

Make sure you’re doing them correctly: Stand with feet about hips-distance apart, keeping your back parallel to your shins; sit back as if you’re sitting in a chair; then push your hips forward to bring yourself back to standing.

Don’t let your heels come off the ground, Gozo adds, or extend your knees past your toes. You should also consider consulting with a fitness professional — incorrect form can lead to injuries.



McClatchy-Tribune Information Services