[location change tomorrow: Candler Park in the McLendon Ave. parking lot, right in front of the playground]

Swimsuit season is upon us. Time for women to Reduce Your Thighs! Men must Pump Your Guns! Everyone needs to Chisel Your Abs! Excuse me while I Toss My Cookies! at this seasonal blast of faux fitness drivel.

For whatever reason, the it exercise this year seems to be the air squat. That’s good and bad. It’s good because air squats are good. It’s bad because, done badly, it’s bad. We do a ton of squats at Queerfit. Here’s why…

An Olympic weightlifting coach once told me that China dominates the sport because its athletes are so comfortable at the bottom of the squat. He continued on to let me – me! – know that Chinese people are great squatters because “there are no chairs in China.” Perhaps there were just no chairs in the weightlifting facility you visited? No, he let me know: there are “no chairs anywhere in China – none!”

Well, um, that’s not quite right.

But even if the idiot coach was wrong in fact, he wasn’t totally wrong in spirit.

Unlike the idiot Olympic weightlifting coach’s version of China, there are a lot of chairs in America. And we sit the hell out of them. We tend to sit in the car in order to go sit somewhere to work, after which we go sit down to eat and/or sit on a couch to watch TV.

Is this a problem? You betcha. Popular Science recently gathered up the various scientific studies into the 7 Ways Sitting Will Kill You. To summarize, sitting for long periods of time throughout the day significantly increases your risk of (1) diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic disease; shorter life expectancy; (3) kidney disease; (4) compromised mental health; (5) obesity and metabolic syndrome; (6) colorectal cancer; and (7) plain old death.

There are competing theories as to why sitting does all these nasty things to you illness-wise, but there is no question about the physiological impact of forcing our joints and musculature to sit in a chair for extended periods of time. When you go from standing to sitting, your back and thighs go from being stacked at 180 degrees to being folded at 90 degrees to one another. Can you picture that?  The folding shortens your hip flexors, especially your iliopsoas, which runs from the inside of your lower spine and the top of your pelvis down to the upper portions of your femur bone.  Simultaneously, the dangling of your legs over the seat of the chair has you folding your upper and lower legs at 90 degrees to one another, shortening your big ole’ hamstrings. Over time, what you get are tight hip flexors fighting against tight hamstrings. The first place you feel it is in your lower back. Then it travels up your spine, jacking up your shoulders and neck, and eventually your hair turns grey and falls out in clumps.

OK, maybe your hair will be OK but everything else is turning into a mess of crossed wires and misalignment.  The depth of the damage depends on how many hours a day you sit. And here’s the extra little kick in the seat: working out does not simply reverse the damage. You can’t just sit all day, then go to the gym or come to queerfit and be good.

Enter, the squat. We squat in order not to sit so much. That’s why we think of the squat as a restorative exercise – it’s designed to restore your jacked up body into its intended form and function. For the perfect squat, see above.

More on this tomorrow, when we meet at Candler Park for our 10:00 workout. Come on & get your squat on — see ya’ll tomorrow!