Inversion exercises are a staple in many yoga routines. They are used to increase flexibility and promote overall health; however, that only scratches the surface of their beneficial qualities. It's important to note that inversions do carry some level of risk, says Mayo Clinic. It warns that any exercise requiring you to hang upside down causes decreased heart rate and increased blood pressure and eye pressure. This means you should avoid such poses and exercises if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or glaucoma.
Back Pain Relief
Inversion exercises can provide relief for those who suffer from back pain, at least temporarily. According to the Mayo Clinic, inversions open the spaces between the vertebrae, which helps to stretch the spine and relieve the pressure on the disks and nerve roots. Unfortunately, this won't necessarily provide long-term pain relief, but it can be helpful as a part of a complete treatment program for lower back pain caused by disk compression.
Gravity has a big impact on our bodies; according to "Yoga Journal," this is one of the primary reasons for aging, resulting in a "sluggish" circulatory system and a greater likelihood of developing heart disease and varicose veins. While the effects of gravity are unavoidable, it is possible to slow them down by performing inversions. Turning upside down can counteract the impact of gravity, says "Yoga Journal," providing a way to slow the aging process. Poses such as Shoulder Stand and Head Stand are especially helpful.
Circulation is directly affected by gravity, which, over time, can lead to a variety of ailments such as sagging skin, varicose veins and hemorrhoids. According to "Yoga Journal," performing inverted poses can reduce the effect gravity has on circulation and prevent the onset of these undesirable conditions.
Inversions can also promote healthier lungs and an improved exchange of oxygen to blood. According to the Motivated Fitness website, gravity pulls blood down into the lower lungs, meaning that most of your breaths are shallow. Performing inverted exercises gets the blood moving out of the lower lungs, and allows you to get more oxygen out of each breath. Over time, this promotes healthier tissue in your lungs.
Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.