Bridge to Wellness: It’s May, and some people don’t know squat!

by Gary Hicks

Squats are an extremely valuable and important exercise. They strengthen the muscles in the lower body and core. This translates to better balance, which can help reduce the tendency to fall. In addition, squats can improve the ability to climb stairs, stand from the sitting position, and get in and out of vehicles. In other words, a simple, easy squat exercise can greatly improve physical function in everyday situations.

But there’s more! Additional benefits include the stimulation of glands and organs and an increase of blood circulation to all parts of the body. Squats improve flexibility, firm up the support muscles surrounding the knees, and strengthen the lower back, which helps to improve posture.

Lastly, the squat burns calories, so including this exercise into your weight-loss program makes a lot of sense. Try adding this easy and effective exercise to your fitness routine and you’ll soon notice the improvements in your daily life. Then you can tell your friends that you do know squat!

Chair Squats: Stand about 12 inches in front of a standard chair (one without wheels). The chair is there for safety, support, and to gauge distance. Position your feet so they are a little more than shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your knees and lower your body as though you intend to sit in the chair. Lightly touch the chair with your buttocks and slowly stand to the starting position. Try not to place all of your weight on the chair as though you are resting.

Congratulations! You have just completed 1 squat. As you progress and gain strength, eliminate the chair if you can continue safely without it.

Monthly Fitness Challenge for May

Week 1 – (Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday) 10 squats / rest 1 minute / 10 more squats

Week 2 – (Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday) 12 squats / rest 1 minute / 12 more squats

Week 3 – (Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday) 15 squats / rest 1 minute / 15 more squats

Week 4 – (Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday) 18 squats / rest 1 minute / 18 more squats

Be sure to let others know how you are progressing by commenting on our Facebook page at

This column is sponsored by the Stockbridge Area Wellness Coalition. Remember, if you have health challenges that could hamper your ability to exercise, check with your doctor before taking on a new exercise regimen. Gary A. Hicks, a veteran police sergeant with a passion for fitness, writes the fitness portion. He has over 35 years of experience in teaching, coaching, martial arts instruction, and police academy instruction.

Upcoming SAWC or wellness-related Community events:

  • Stockbridge Area Run/Walk Club continues, led by Erin Clifton. Gather at the parking lot in front of Stockbridge Library at 6pm on Mondays and Fridays ready to hit the trails! Runs through June 18. Free to all—register at the class. Gets you ready for the 5K during A Day in the Village, Saturday, June 19.
  • For more info about the Run/Walk Club,

For more info about the 5K:

  • Fridays, starting May 7: Open Air Market of Stockbridge begins its season with weekly markets on Friday from 4-7pm on the Stockbridge Town Square, near the gazebo.
  • Monday, May 10: Outreach’s Fresh Food Distribution for anyone who needs food—no registration required, just show up—at Jeruel Baptist Church’s parking lot, 4-5pm. Curbside pick up.

Saturday, May 15: SAWC’s new monthly Community Clean Up Club joins the Village of Stockbridge and its volunteers to spruce up Stockbridge’s Oaklawn Cemetery, 2pm, in time for Memorial Day, gathering at 2pm at the cemetery.  Bring your rakes & gloves!

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