Sitting vs Squatting
Assume the position? Or do you step up and use your head logically in a process of simple elimination to easily dispel the best output….?
You may think it odd I’m comparing those two positions if you immediately assumed this was a post about a standard workout that you might put your body through in the gym a couple times a week.
This is really a post about a standard workout that you put your body through in a place you likely spend a lot more time in than the gym….the bathroom.
The pressure of gym positions
So…. chances are like me you’ve been going to the bathroom much longer than you’ve been attending a gym (even if your parents enrolled you in gymnastics and soccer and other gym-sports in preschool and kindergarten like mine did). In the first week that you attend a gym thankfully (pressure subscription sales annoyances aside) there is usually someone working there who guides you in how to use the various pieces of equipment in the safest and most efficient positions possible so as to optimize your workouts while minimizing unnatural straining and discomfort.
A Real Crappy Position
The bathroom is another story. Unfortunately even the bathroom attendants in upscale lounges and hotels don’t provide the guided orientation service (unless perhaps you offer them an exorbitant tip) and we are left on our own to figure out or assume a posterior position. You might be shocked (as I was) to discover that sitting is completely unnatural and a real crappy position to assume in the bathroom.
Minority wins equal big troubles in the bathroom
The toilet was invented hundreds of years ago, making its way from outhouse or latrine to watercloset and then around the 19th Century to the flush toilet most commonly used today over two centuries later. The toilet was designed and built to be used in a squatting position, which happens to be one of the most natural positions a human being can assume, no ifs, ands, or buts…
Well, with a large majority of over 70% of the world doing their business in a squat position, some of the royalty of the 19th and 20th Century went and decided it was more dignified to be sitting down, assuming a position not unlike the one they already were accustomed to using to sit on their thrones.
So what! What’s the big stink about sitting and not squatting on a throne!?
Piles of problems with sitting
It turns out that the straining inherent in sitting on a toilet causes and contributes to many common elimination problems, everything from constipation, appendicitis, and even pregnancy issues (putting undue pressure on the uterus). If continued, these conditions can lead to IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Colitis, etc), dilated, enlarged, or swollen veins (hemorrhoids), diverticulitis, or even colon cancer.
Today there is a big load of evidence piling up that you should really know squat about toilets. With the above complications and conditions drastically concentrated in Western Countries where sitting is the norm, it is high time to rethink how you use the toilet and take a look at the science behind the stool.
According to Dr. Mercola: “(Constipation is) usually temporary and relatively easy to resolve – without resorting to laxatives. Squatting is one of the best interventions, preventing constipation in four ways:
- Gravity does most of the work. The weight of the torso presses against the thighs and naturally compresses the colon. Gentle pressure from the diaphragm supplements the force of gravity.
- The ileocecal valve, between the colon and the small intestine, is properly sealed, allowing the colon to be fully pressurized. The pressure creates a natural laxative effect. In the sitting position the IC valve is unsupported and tends to leak, making it difficult to generate the required pressure.
- Squatting relaxes the puborectalis muscle, which normally chokes the rectum to maintain continence.
- Squatting lifts the sigmoid colon to unlock the “kink” at the entrance to the rectum. This kink also helps prevent incontinence, by taking some of the pressure off the puborectalis muscle.
Preventing and treating constipation is very similar to preventing and treating hemorrhoids. Pay attention to your diet, exercise, hydration and stress level. Consume probiotic-rich foods and possibly add a probiotic supplement.
Chia and organic psyllium are excellent sources of soluble and insoluble fiber, aloe vera and magnesium supplements can also be useful tools to speed up your bowel movements.”
The Squatty Potty: The case for a stool stool
The Squatty Potty (or other similar stool stools) are extremely useful for any elderly or less fit people that may have issues squatting comfortably. As an athlete not very familiar with squats in the gym, I had some difficulty for the first week or so getting accustomed to squatting but it has since become a much more comfortable position than sitting ever was.
Who or what the bleep is Thomas Crapper and is he to blame for toilet troubles on the rise?
A post on the honest truth behind potties or crappers wouldn’t be complete without mention of Thomas Crapper but this is already longer than planned and I’ve got Shaolin Kung Fu class in an hour so I’m going to leave you hanging flush with intrigue as to who or what Thomas Crapper is, was, and what the relation really was between him/it and what became known as his namesake, the crapper….
Squat healthy my friends!