Is the squatting position good for health?

American scientists studying hunter-gatherers in Africa have come to the conclusion that squatting or kneeling is more beneficial for health than sitting on a chair or sofa.

The sedentary lifestyle, characteristic of modern humans, is associated with many health risks due to low muscle activity and slowed metabolism. From an evolutionary point of view, this is quite strange, because, in theory, adaptive methods for saving energy should give humans certain advantages.

To understand how humans created relaxation and energy savings before the invention of the chair, American scientists from the University of Southern California tracked the activities of hunter-gatherers from the Hadza tribe in Tanzania, they have a lifestyle similar to how people lived in the past.

Is the squatting position good for health?
The two positions of kneeling and squatting are not as harmful as sitting in a chair.

“We tend to think that human physiology is adapted to the conditions in which we have been and are growing. If sedentary status were harmful, human evolutionary history would not provide us with much time for this,” the university’s press release quoted Professor David Reichen as saying. Department of Biology, the first author of the scientific paper.

During the study, the scientists asked the Hadza people in Tanzania to wear activity trackers. Some Hadza members have agreed to wear the device for a week. The software was then used to monitor their activity for a period of 15 seconds. The big surprise of the study – the typical Hadza adult spent almost 10 hours waking up without any detectable movement. Hadza is typically very active, easily exceeding the US recommendations for 22 minutes of physical activity a day. In other words, our ancestors who lived in harmony with nature, as scientists say, had high levels of inactivity.

It is rare to see any Hadza sitting on a log or rock as if it were a chair; instead, about half of their time is spent sitting on level ground. But they also spend time in positions rarely seen in industrialized societies: kneeling and squatting . These two poses take up about 9-10 hours a day of Hadza’s sedentary time.

“Although the Hadzas did not have any movement for long periods of time, one of the main differences we noticed was that the Hadza often rested in poses that require the muscles to maintain a light level of activity – kneeling and squatting positions,” said Professor Reichlen.

In addition to tracking active and inactive phases, the researchers used specialized equipment to measure leg muscle activity in a variety of positions. Squatting involves greater muscle activity than sitting in a chair.

Scientists have predicted that light muscle activity requires fuel, which means burning fat, so kneeling and squatting are not as harmful as sitting in a chair . At least, the Hadza people rarely suffer from heart diseases and metabolic disorders, which are characteristic of modern people in developed countries, spending 10-12 hours a day in the office, in the chair at home and in the chair. car.

The authors do not urge residents of large cities to squat or kneel during leisure time or at work, but, when it is necessary to get up and bend down at times, prefer more active postures, which it can be a useful practice to help reduce the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

“Instead of sitting in a chair when the muscles are not working, you should choose other positions, in the future people may explore this behavioral pattern. Squatting is not the only alternative, but, more time should be spent in poses that require low-level muscular activity, which is beneficial for our health,” the expert said.