MOVEMENT AS MEDICINE: Sitting too much? Try a resting squat.

Last week, I wrote about three ways to sit on the floor instead of sitting in a chair. This week, I will describe the resting squat. Which is another great alternative for elevated (chair) sitting.

For most of us, resting is synonymous with sitting in a chair. Even those of us who practice yoga or go to the gym or run or walk, usually rest in chairs.

But the human body is not built to sit in chairs.  It is built to squat. .

In the West, people stopped squatting regularly in the mid-1800s. When elevated flush toilets became popular. The “Sitting Disease” began and grew from there.

Why did we give up squatting? We decided that chair sitting was more comfortable, more convenient, and more “modern.”  We were not aware of the damage we were causing to our bodies.

We didn’t know that sitting in chairs is bad for our health. Critical muscles turn off. Every joint in the body needs to move through its full range of motion to stay healthy. When we are sitting in a chair, the hips and knees never go past 90 degrees. As a result, our joints start to degenerate. It becomes harder to move.

Sitting in a chair makes us more susceptible to a variety of health issues. Including diabetes, obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. It is hard on our posture and our spine. It causes lower back pain.

Many people across the globe still squat on a daily basis. We can learn from our Asian brothers and sisters, where it is still common to sit in a resting squat.

Why is the resting squat so hard to do? It’s simple. The resting squatting is so uncomfortable because we don’t do it.

Yes, we have forgotten how to squat. But it’s still in our DNA. And we can get it back with awareness and practice. Practice squatting anywhere anytime. When you are your phone, waiting for the bus, at the beach, wanting to rest anywhere, etc.

Here are the steps for a basic resting squat.


1.      Start standing with your feet parallel, around shoulder width apart.

2.      Find a comfortable stance for your feet. Facing forward or pointed outward.

3.      You may want to use a pole or another stable object to balance yourself.

4.      Bend your knees to lower into a squat.

5.      Lower your buttocks toward the ground.

6.      Keep your weight in your heels and your heels on the ground if you can.

7.      If you can’t, place your heels on a mobility strip or a blanket.

8.      Try to squat for a total of 30 minutes each day. Use a timer and let the timer run every time you go down into a squat.

Summing Up:

We are born to squat. We are not born to rest in chairs. Start to squat at least 30 minutes a day.  Whenever you get tired of standing or sitting, squat. You will reverse the negative effects of sitting too much.

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for education and information only. It is not a substitute for a doctor’s opinion.

Photo Credit: Via Anderson squatting on the trail to Las Animas.

Via Anderson, E-RYT, is a Yoga and movement coach and teaches the Intelligent Movement Forever system of healthy movement in a weekly online class, in private sessions, and at Yoga Vallarta during the high season. This 77-year-old grandmother practices what she preaches and teaches. She is the author of “How to Move Without Pain: A Compendium of Intelligent Movement”, to be released in 2019.