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8 Reasons Why Squatting Is Better Than Running

8 Reasons Why Squatting Is Better Than Running

Squatting is largely neglected in modern society — dudes skipping leg day, women wasting away on the elliptical. Especially when it comes to weight loss, there are too many people out there skipping the resistance training portion of exercise and focusing solely on cardio.

Here are 8 reasons why you should hit the squat rack every once in a while instead of running for every workout.

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1. Squatting isn’t a huge time commitment.

Running is all about speed and endurance. Once you get your mile time down to where you want it, all you can do is run further. Eventually, you find yourself easily covering 5, 6, 7, 8 miles. Even for fast runners, that’s a lot of time. A good squat session should only take about 10 minutes.

2. It is lower impact on your joints.

Running is notorious for being one of the highest impact exercises you can impose on your joints. We were built to run barefoot on soft soil, but we live in a paved world of concrete and cement. Running long distances on such hard surfaces really taxes the connective tissue. Ever hear of shin splints? Unless you’re squatting really heavy weight, replacing a run or two with a squat session will save your knees in the long run.

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3. Your body was built to squat.

Our bodies were built to run short to moderate distances, not marathons. Squatting is by far the most neglected fundamental movement your body was born capable of performing. Look at a baby — babies can squat ass to grass no problem. Think back to Adam and Eve. Do you think they pooped on toilets? We were meant to squat all the way down and do our business on the ground. The constant sitting we do at our desks and on the toilet have made us immobile as a species, and it needs to be combated with squats.

4. Squatting activates more muscles.

Running is a great exercise for your heart and calves. It hits several more areas, but the stimulus is small. Squatting activates your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, adductors, abdominals, and lower back. Resistance training in general creates a larger muscle stimulus than running and the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. This means you can eat more without gaining weight. If that doesn’t motivate you to squat, I don’t know what will. Speaking of eating more…

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5. People who squat can eat more carbs.

Running is an aerobic exercise, so it burns fat as fuel. Squats are primarily an anaerobic exercise. This means that its primary energy source is glycogen, which is your body’s method of storing carbs. If you squat, your body burns the glycogen in your muscles. If your muscles are glycogen-depleted, you can only refill them by consuming carbs. Now get this: they won’t be stored as fat. Instead they’ll go straight to replenishing your muscles (given you eat a reasonable amount). Next time you eat a donut or four after leg day, don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re making booty gains.

6. Squatting builds your booty more.

Distance runners tend to have flat booty syndrome if all they do is run. Sprinters? They utilize their glutes a whole lot  their entire legs in fact. They’re a different story. Squatters tend to build large, round glutes due to the hip-hinge-dominant nature of the movement. Would you rather have a flat butt or a squat butt?

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7. Squat waists look thinner than runner waists.

In addition to the extra calorie burn induced by having a little more booty muscle, having a larger booty will cause your waist to appear thinner. This gives women that hourglass figure and men that extra asset women actually love.

8. It will give you abs.

Squatting is a compound movement and one of the muscles it hits hard is your abs. Many people have no idea this is the case. Think about it: your torso is pitched forward with a barbell on your shoulders. What’s keep you from folding and falling flat on your face? Your core. There are many bodybuilders out there with chiseled sets of abs who never work them directly. They’ve found it’s a better use of their time to do heavy squats and deadlifts and their abs are doing just swimmingly.

I’m not saying I hate running. In fact, I enjoy running a good mile or two and I suggest most people do so as well on occasion. There are just too many people out there on treadmills and not enough in the squat rack.

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Drew Kocak

Online Personal Trainer / Fitness Blogger

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Last Updated on February 6, 2020

10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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