The squat is essential to your well-being. Squats can greatly improve athleticism as well as help keep your lower back and the joints in your legs healthy. Coming from someone who has had way more than my fair share of knee injuries, I am allowed to class myself as an expert. Not only is the squat not detrimental to the knees it is remarkably rehabilitative of cranky, damaged, or delicate knees. In fact, if you do not squat, your knees are not healthy regardless of how free of pain or discomfort you are. This is equally true of the hips and back. The squat is a vital, natural, functional, component of your being. The squat, in the bottom position, is nature’s intended sitting posture (chairs are not part of your biological make-up), and the rise from the bottom to the stand is the biomechanically sound method by which we stand up. There is nothing artificial about this movement.
Most of the world’s inhabitants sit not on chairs but in a squat. Meals, ceremonies, conversation, gatherings, and defecation are all performed bereft of chairs or seats. Only in the industrialized world that contributes immensely to decrepitude. I frequently hear of individuals whose doctor or chiropractor has told them not to squat. I myself was told many years ago not to squat or run anymore. In nearly every instance this is pure ignorance on the part of the practitioner. When a doctor that doesn’t like the squat is asked, “by what method should your patient get off of the toilet?” they are at a loss for words.
In a similarly misinformed manner we have heard trainers and health care providers suggest that the knee should not be bent past 90 degrees. It’s entertaining to ask proponents of this view to sit on the ground with their legs out in front of them and then to stand without bending the legs more than 90 degrees. It can’t be done without some weird movement that looks like they may break a leg. The truth is that getting up off the floor involves a force on at least one knee that is substantially greater than the squat.
So just like so many things in life we must use it or lose it.