11 Nov 2016
The [many] benefits of hanging upside down
The spine: Benefits of hanging upside down…
Reversing gravity has a funny way of making people smile. It’s weird. It feels funny. Blood rushes to your head and your whole world flips upside down.
That’s not exactly what you picture when you are seeking to improve my fitness or ability to get work done. However, in my life, inversion has proven to be a vital tool with those exact benefits.
The goal behind inversion is to reverse the effects of gravity. Gravitational forces are hard on the body and when you reverse gravity, you relieve incredible amounts of pressure and disrupt your normal rhythms, which carries with it benefits you cannot get with any other exercise.
I found this great article on www.spine-health.com that I’d like to share with you. Here are the [many] benefits of hanging upside down:
#1: Significant Reduction in Back Pain
I used to suffer from back pain on a regular basis. After I began running marathons, practicing yoga, and using a standing desk all day, my back pain slowly dissipated.
However, due to a running injury and the introduction of cycling, my back pain returned. I began inverting as a means to reduce the pressure on my spinal column, relax my back muscles, and rehydrate the discs in my spine.
The end result is that inversion has eliminated back pain when nothing else would. Hanging upside down opens up your back and allows everything to relax, which significantly reduces stress in your back muscles and reduces, or even eliminates, acute and chronic pain.
#2: Reduces Stress
As soon as you adjust to hanging upside down, usually after 60 seconds, you begin to feel the relaxing benefits of inversion. I find that simply hanging upside with my eyes closed is a great time for meditation or just relaxation.
Others have said that inversion feels like a whole body massage. Either way, the benefit here is clear. Inversion puts your mind and body at ease.
#3: Improves Focus, Balance, and Brain Function
When you hang upside down, oxygen-rich blood flows to your brain (which is a little bizarre at first) but after you adjust to it you begin to notice your brain feels more alive.
Since you brain is the largest consumer of oxygen in your body, more blood means more oxygen, which means better brain function.
I personally noticed that after inverting I feel more focused, my balance improves as I adjust to seeing the world from different perspectives, and I can think more clearly.
My first experience with improved brain function occurred after my first aerial yoga experience, when I inverted for only a few minutes. The benefits here are clear and immediate.
#4: Improves Leg & Core Strength
One of the greatest benefits of inversion is being able to exercise without interacting with the ground. While inverting, you can do upside down squats, crunches, or even push-ups.
If you are an experienced weight lifter, you will quickly notice how much harder it is to fight gravity in the opposite direction, which makes the workout that much more beneficial.
Inverted crunches are especially appealing because your back has little to no pressure applied to it as you curl up and back down. You will easily feel the powerful effects with just one set of ten repetitions.
#5: Improves Joint Health
Inverting reverses the pressure of gravity, which can aid your joints and ligaments just as much as your muscles.
The joints in your spinal column can fully open up and decompress the most when you are upside down, as opposed to sitting, standing, or even lying down.
If you have suffered from any pain in your joints, especially in your back, consider using inversion to decompress and improve your overall health.
#6: Better Flexibility
For years I have practiced yoga with the intention of greater flexibility in my core, hips, and back. Inversion is the quickest and easiest method I have ever seen to improve flexibility in all of these areas at once.
Beyond feeling more relaxed after inverting, your muscles will also be more flexible, which feels great.
#7: You Can Get Taller!
Ok, this is cool! As your back decompresses, it creates more space in your spinal column. If you invert twice a day (5 to 15 minutes per session), you dramatically increase your chances of increasing your height permanently!
Dr. Robert Lockhart, who I mentioned earlier, claims that he has grown 1.5 inches due to inversion, while the rest of his friends and colleagues have only gotten shorter.
Amazing? I think so.
#8: Better Posture
If you take advantage of the core strengthening exercises while inverting, you will certainly notice an improvement with your posture.
Since I have been using a standing desk for years, it wasn’t as obvious to me right away, but others I have heard from have said their posture improved very quickly.
#9: Clears Skin & Reduces Wrinkles
With an increase of oxygen-rich blood flowing to your head and face, you may also notice clearer skin and fewer facial wrinkles.
I can’t speak to this benefits on a personal level, but I have read multiple stories where this has been the case. And, it makes sense. The more healthy blood you have in your head, along with the reversal of gravity, the more likely it would be that your complexion would improve.
#10: Improves Your Lymphatic System
Your body drains waste through the lymphatic system, kind of like a sewer. Inversion (along with exercise, massage, and other methods) helps your body remove the waste with greater ease, which keeps you healthy and feeling your best.
RELIEVE BACK PAIN
Relaxes muscles, rehydrates discs, realigns & reduces pressure
Releases tension in shoulders, neck & back
IMPROVE JOINT HEALTH
Decompresses, strengthens & enhances shock absorption
Improves functional fitness for an active, healthy lifestyle
IMPROVE FITNESS AND BUILD CORE STRENGTH
Inverted exercises help build a strong core, which is essential to back health
RELIEVE BACK PAIN
Unlike surgery, mechanical traction, and other invasive forms of treatment, using a Yoga Swing is a gentle, passive way to target pain at the source and care for all weight-bearing joints. This progressive form of traction allows each joint to be decompressed by the same weight that compresses it while upright. To put it simply, inverted decompression creates an ideal stretch that improves spinal health and targets back pain by helping to 1) rehydrate discs, 2) reduce nerve pressure, 3) realign the spine and 4) relax tense muscles. Best of all, decompressing on a Yoga Swing takes only a few minutes and feels great!