083013emelina small 117“This is the reason we need to squat as we age, so we can do this at 75!” I said to my two teen-age granddaughters laughing, as we squatted to pick up piles of leaves and then transferred them to the 5’ high trash can. I worked alongside them for a good thirty minutes. The next day I didn’t feel a thing.

That’s because my body is used to squatting—on and off for over thirty years.  

I started squatting in my late forties, first with no weight, and as I got stronger, incrementally added more weight. In time I built up to 115 lbs. Squatting became my favorite exercise–I loved how powerful it made me feel.

Then I hit 71 and I injured my right knee. The swelling scared me. I iced to get the swelling down and consulted with an orthopedist. An MRI showed no damage. I was instructed to continue training as before. But I would have to start squatting from scratch—with no weight.

I went to rehab for six weeks and I loved it. On the very first day I squatted on a balance ball. Balancing forced me to use a variety of muscles to spare my knee. At the end of rehab I continued the exercises at home. In time I incorporated my old routine with new leg exercises some of which I had never done before.

Today my leg workout consists of 6 exercises for a total of 240 repetitions. I do this routine every 2 days. Besides that routine, I squat twice a week with 40 lbs. for 40 reps., a much lighter load than before, but just as satisfying!  

It’s now been two years and my knee has never felt stronger. I can move easily up and down stairs pain-free. And my daily 60-minute fast walk is a pleasure.  

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