Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club

CHRISTMAS will soon be upon us, and a different one to say the least, with limited visits from loved ones and even more limited places to go we need to keep positive and enjoy the festivities for what they really are. Embrace your health this year and that of your relatives and friends. Embrace family time, with laptops and work phones powered off. Embrace the fresh air and afternoon walks, good food and laughter. This week I am going to set a challenge for you, one you can do at home, at any time, and it’s all about embracing movement.

A Christmas squat challenge! Designed to improve your squat and your strength and work on that booty. Do them first thing in the morning or last thing at night but follow my daily count below of squats and you’ll be working off that turkey and wine in no time, and it’s another thing to set your mind to in the days that can become long over the Xmas holidays.

The squat is one exercise that should be a part of virtually everyone’s routine as it is a movement we need and use every day in our normal lives, not just in the gym, as it’s relatively simple to perform, requires no equipment, and can be done just about anywhere. More importantly, although squats are often regarded as “leg” exercises, they actually offer benefits throughout your entire body, including deep within your core…

What makes squats such a fantastic exercise?

  1. Builds Muscle in Your Entire Body

Squats obviously help to build your leg muscles (including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. It is a functional exercise that helps your body to perform real-life activities, as opposed to simply being able to operate pieces of gym equipment. Squats are one of the best functional exercises out there, as humans have been squatting since the hunter-gatherer days. When you perform squats, you build muscle and help your muscles work more efficiently, as well as promote mobility and balance. All of these benefits translate into your body moving more efficiently in the real world too.

  1. Burn More Fat

One of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories is actually to gain more muscle! For every pound of additional muscle you gain, your 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.

  1. Maintain Mobility and Balance

Strong legs are crucial for staying mobile as you get older, and squats are phenomenal for increasing leg strength. They also work out your core, stabilizing muscles, which will help you to maintain balance, while also improving the communication between your brain and your muscle groups, which helps prevent falls.

  1. Prevent Injuries

Most athletic injuries involve weak stabilizer muscles, ligaments and connective tissues, which squats help strengthen. They also help prevent injury by improving your flexibility (squats improve the range of motion in your ankles and hips) and balance.

  1. Boost Your Sports Performance – Jump Higher and Run Faster

Whether you’re a gym bunny or a mom who chases after a toddler, you’ll be interested to know that studies have linked squatting strength with athletic ability. Specifically, squatting helped athletes run faster and jump higher, which is why this exercise is part of virtually every professional athlete’s training program.

  1. FINALLY; Tone Your Booty, Abs and Entire Body (My fav reason to perform the squat)

Few exercises work as many muscles as the squat, so it’s an excellent multi-purpose activity useful for toning and tightening your behind, abs, and, of course, your legs.

What’s the Proper Way to Perform a Squat?

This is important to read before you begin your challenge. Squats have long been criticized for being destructive to your knees, but research shows that when done properly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue.

  1. Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart

  2. Keep your back in a neutral position, and keep your knees centered over your feet

  3. Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, lowering until you reach a 90-degree angle

  4. Return to starting position pushing up through the heels

  5. Breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you return to starting position

Ok, you have read the research and the benefits behind performing a squat, you now know how to do a squat, here is your challenge, cut it out, stick it on the fridge and good luck!

Day 1

20 squats

Day 2

25 squats

Day 3

30 squats

Day 4


Day 5

35 squats

Day 6

40 squats

Day 7

45 squats

Day 8


Day 9

50 squats

Day 10

55 squats

Day 11

60 squats

Day 12


Day 13

65 squats

Day 14

70 squats

Day 15

75 squats

Day 16


Day 17

80 squats

Day 18

85 squats

Day 19

90 squats

Day 20


Day 21

95 squats

Day 22

100 squats

Day 23

105 squats

Day 24


Day 25

110 squats

Day 26

115 squats

Day 27

120 squats

Day 28


Day 29

125 squats

Day 30

130 squats

Your legs will get increasingly tired as each day goes on so enjoy the rest days and be sure to stretch the legs before each day. And remember, as the days progress, if you are struggling to get the repetitions in, break them up, do half in the morning and half in the evening, just be sure to hit your daily target, and why not get the whole family involved.

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By Jacqui Watson
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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