For me, inspiration for writing comes at the strangest times.
Recently while at CrossFit, we were doing a workout during which we had to perform a weighted squat with a five-second hold at the bottom. Five seconds when you are squatting with 100 pounds on your back seems like an eternity, so it gave me time to formulate today’s topic: “Saggy Bottoms.”
In the latter years of my father’s life, I noticed a new addition to his wardrobe — suspenders. Never in my life had I remembered him even owning a pair, so one day I got brave enough to ask him. He looked at me, shook his head and said, “My butt is gone and my pants won’t stay up without them.”
That night I inspected my own backside and thought, no way this is going anywhere because, No. 1, I had worked long and hard in the gym for years and No. 2, there was plenty to spare regardless.
Boy was I surprised when I hit the big 50 and suddenly my jeans were sagging in the back and my bottom had seemingly decided to take residence on the front side of me! Unfortunately, no matter how much junk we have in our trunk, as we age the perfect backside gets harder and harder to hold on to.
As we get older, fat naturally atrophies (shrinks). That is why our skin wrinkles and becomes looser, which makes our butts appear to be sagging. As skin and fat change, cellulite also becomes more apparent. And if that is not depressing enough for you, we also lose an average of 5 percent of muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 35, which means even more sagging. Ugh! Now that I have thoroughly depressed my female readers and sent the men running to the mall for their suspenders, let me offer a ray of hope — with some extra effort in your fitness routine you can keep your bottom up.
Here are five exercises guaranteed to keep your jeans fitting just right:
— Squats, squats and more squats: The No. 1 exercise you can do for a falling butt is the squat. With or without weights, squatting helps work all the lower body muscles and, in particular, the gluteal muscles that make up our bottoms. You can use a weighted bar across your shoulders, a squat machine at the gym, or hold a dumbbell in each hand to create resistance.
— Walk or run uphill: Walking or running on an incline gets your glutes (butt muscles) firing on all cylinders. You can incline a treadmill, or find an incline outdoors and do repeats. The more, the better.
— Lunges: Lunges are also a great way to get your bottom fired up. Alternate legs and either do them in place or travel. Make sure that the back leg knee touches or nearly touches the ground each time to get the most benefit. To up the intensity, carry some hand weights.
— Sprint: A great way to kick your own butt is to move faster. Add a little speed work into your walk or run. Alternate your normal pace with some short bursts of all out fast-as-you-can movement to fire up your metabolism and your legs.
— Glute bridges: This one you can do while watching TV. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the floor, squeeze your bottom and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat as many as you can and do them daily.
Kathy Hansen has over 25 years of experience in the health and fitness field and thanks to CrossFit has her booty back. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]