“If you feel like you’ve got the world on your shoulders, do a handstand and have the world at your feet.” #takeitoffthemat
I have to confess that I felt a bit giddy this weekend when my friend Mindy told me that I had inspired her to start working on her handstand. Hoorah! I’m so excited for her — because handstands are so wonderful — and because they’re beneficial. It’s true. Doing a handstand isn’t just a way to prove you have gymnastic abilities; they really and truly make you feel happy, and they have physical and mental benefits. Lest you doubt what I’m saying, I’ve done some research, compiled a few of the important takeaways, and am sharing them in this post.
According to “5 Reasons You Should Do Handstands Everyday” on Mindbodygreen.com, handstands make your upper body super strong. This might seem like a big “Duh, of course your upper body will be stronger,” but a lot of people think they have to be strong before they even attempt a handstand, and use that as a reason not to try it. Sure, already having some upper body strength does make it easier, but consistently practicing handstand will make what you’ve already got even better, and pretty soon, you’ll hold your handstands even longer. And speaking of strength, did you know that handstands also increase strength in your palms, wrists, and forearms? (“4 Health Benefits of Handstands” shape.com) That’s right, handstands help with allover body strength. And I ask you, “Who doesn’t want to be stronger?”
I know I’ve said over and over that handstands make me happy, and you know what, there’s actual science to back up my claim! Handstands reduce production of the stress hormone cortisol, helping to relieve minor depression and anxiety. (“Why You Should do Handstands”) And, according to the article, because handstands stimulate the thyroid and pituitary glands, they can actually help regulate your metabolic rate — meaning daily handstands could help you maintain or reach a healthy weight. Bonus!
And in case you’re still not convinced that handstands are helpful, how about improving your bone health and circulation? The Mindbodygreen.com article says because they’re technically a weight-bearing exercise, handstands can help strengthen your bones, making you less prone to osteoporosis. Plus, they point out that the upside-down nature of a handstand can increase your circulation to your upper body, while relieving pressure on your feet and legs, stretching your diaphragm at the same time, which in turn can increase blood flow to your lungs.
See, handstands aren’t just for giggles — they’re also for good health. And it doesn’t matter if you hold them against the wall, away from the wall, for a few seconds or for a half a millisecond, they’re still making you stronger, more confident, and a whole lot happier. Before I wrap this up (because I know you’re now chomping at the bit to quit reading and start handstanding), I want to tell you about my friend Chris B. who’s 68-years-old and does a handstand every single year on her birthday. She hadn’t done a handstand since she was 20, but started doing them again at age 63. Here’s her reply as to why she does handstands. “I do it to overcome fear and get a different perspective. They’re not pretty, but who gives a shit. Not me.”
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