How Squats Can Save Apartment Dwellers (And Just About Everyone Else)

True story: Today I’m walking into the front door of my apartment building and like all apartment dwellers, I’m carrying a sh*t load of stuff. It’s nothing new to us to have to carry the contents of our entire car to our apartment all in one trip because we have had to park the car three blocks and one massive hill away. (Who the hell wants to make that trip twice?) So if you have groceries, your laptop, laundry, (us apartment dwellers hate the fact that the laundry is on the bottom floor and how, if you’ve managed to get caught up in the latest Bachelor scandal on TV therefore delaying your ‘laundry response time’, other apartment dwellers will callously toss your wet clothes on the nearest table so as to free up the machine. Heaven have mercy should you be 30 seconds late in transferring your laundry! Therefore we outsource and are forced to carry it in with all other contents of our car), your coffee cup and purse, you’re loaded down to say the least. Plus, let’s not forget the mail we have to forcibly remove from our tiny, rail-thin mailbox that the mailman shoved in there knowing full well that we’re going to rip apart every piece of junk mail as we try to get it out (it’s like some weird postal service joke), while juggling all these items. Inevitably, you know that along the way we’re going to drop our keys. And I did. Although, added to the contents listed above, I also had 15 pounds of weights in my backpack, plus an additional 10 pounds (two 5 lbs dumbbells) that I was holding in my hands. 25 extra pounds math whizzes. I just stood for a few moments, staring at those keys, muttering every bad word I could think of. The trek alone from the car to the building weighed down on my shoulders like a freight train parked on my back. And now I had to squat down and GET BACK UP!

(You see where I’m going with this now? I know it took awhile but there was a lot to set up there.)

If I was an unconditioned, untrained, couch potato I’m pretty sure I’d be icing my back and downing Advil’s for the rest of the day, not to mention tending to bum knee, sore back and pulled muscle. But since I’m a squat performing fool, after my mutterings I slowly lowered my weighted-down body into a squat position (feet shoulder width apart, thighs parallel to the floor, weight in my heels and knees above my ankles—not reaching over my toes) and I successfully grabbed my keys and then pushed through my legs, slow and controlled, and made it back up to standing. Alleluia, Lord have mercy I got back up! I wish Richard Simmons was there to see it. The squat is one of the best exercises to master and if you’re not performing them, well then, you’re not getting back up without tossing everything you’re carrying onto the floor. (Imagine then how many times are you getting back up and down?)

Just there I have given proof to how taking care of your body, understanding proper form and using slow and controlled movements are useful in everyday life. How many times a day are you bending over, picking up items, moving around heavy objects? Most likely, quite a bit. If your body isn’t properly conditioned, serious injuries can occur doing even the smallest of chores, so this is why it’s important to exercise your body. (Of course you can pull a muscle or injure yourself even if your body is the most conditioned body in the world, but I’m pretty sure your recovery time is much better with a conditioned body than with a couch potato body.)

So even though the squat may seem like an arduous, annoying and unnecessary exercise, clearly you can see that it is not. (It’s like when you were in high school and you said to your math teacher, when am I EVER going to use this?!?!) Except with the squat you really will be using it, and most likely when you’re carrying a lot of sh*t. So practice, perform and perfect the squat, it will save your legs (and back, and hips, and knees) when you need it most!

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About the Author: Anne Marie Constanzo