Thursday, 23 April 2009

It is true about squatting?

OK, let me explain from the start. I was amazed to see adults in China squatting on the road, footpath or just whereever they happened to be - with feet flat on the ground, they can squat for hours on end.

I know young children learn to squat - have you every watched them at play? But because we Westerners don't squat much as we get older, we loose the flexibility of some leg muscles. We lost the ability to squat with feet firmly planted on the ground. We can squat for shorter periods, but generally our heels are a couple of cms off the ground.

Why is this so?

I reason that in many Asian countries, people going to the toilet (or bathroom if you like) generally squat to "go". They have learned to squat over the low flat squat toilets that are common in Asia.

For women it can be good for the pelvic floor muscles - a problem that many western women have when those muscles become weaker as we age. There are a few health problems that women can have in later years as a result of these weakened pelvic floor muscles.

But my observation is not about those issues. One thing that I have noticed in Asia is the number of older people - men and women with bow legs. I didn't make the connection before, but a Korean man, pointing out an elderly Korean with bow legs in the street at Jeunju stated it was because he squatted a lot. In fact he added that the squatting has caused this problem with a lot of Asians. Could this be the cause of the bow legs?

I will try and do some research on it - but it sounds reasonable. Maybe there is some truth in it.


Anonymous said...

I've never noticed that here in the Philippines although the elderly here rarely squat, the young ones (especially the girls) don't find any difficulty at doing it - and we don't squat when we go to the toilet either :P

Amy Jo said...

What an interesting thought! I hadn't thought about it.
I have a confession; I avoided squat toilets entirely for 3 weeks. But I gave in last week; and I am a fan! They actually do seem more sanitary (if the restroom is clean). :)

I can't for the LIFE of me plant my feet firmly on the ground. Maybe I'll have to work on that :)