DID I UNDERESTIMATE LEG ELEVATION?
I have had an inversion table for a couple of decades and have become quite aware of the healing benefits of suspending myself upside down. I loved zero gravity! But I was not really aware of the value of simply elevating my legs as an important health practice.
With a little research (paraphrasing Merrick Surgical), I found that leg elevation helps us in these ways:
- Reduction of swelling – elevating our feet and reducing gravity will reduce swelling in our feet and legs
- Less pressure – long periods of standing will put pressure on our veins, This is reduced by leg elevation
- Blood flow benefits – standing or sitting with feet on the floor will create more of a challenge for blood to be pumped back to our hearts. But, with feet elevated above our hearts, the blood flow is easier and less pressure is placed on our veins
- Relief of muscle tension – tension in our lower body – hips, legs and feet – may cause pain. This can be reduced by elevating our legs.
There are these recommendations for correct procedure in elevating our legs:
- Always raise your legs above heart level
- Try for 20 minutes of elevation several times each day
- Adjust the frequency, depending on the amount of swelling or pain. As pain lessens, go to one elevation per day
Levels of elevation are shown below.
I can speak from my experience with inversion therapy. My inversion table (by Teeter) was the answer to my sciatic pain about 25 years ago. The pain was so severe that I would even feel it when I would extend my foot when driving or when sitting at times. Nerve pain is no fun!
The sciatic nerve extends from the lower back through the buttocks and down to the lower leg and foot. My sciatica was apparently caused by stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal column and resulting compressed nerves.
I was able to eliminate the sciatic pain by using my inversion table (though many years later, I had lumbar surgery).
Inversion therapy has become so popular that the U.S. Army is making plans to include it in their physical training.
Bats and sloths never suffer from osteoarthritis and they are also the only animals that hang upside down in their natural habitat.
My inversion table is shown below.
And here are a couple of pictures of inversion angles:
The most significant benefits of inversion therapy are these:
- Relief of spinal pain
- Improvement of blood circulation, especially to the brain.
- Controlling indigestion
- Decreasing mood swings
- Improving immunity (since blood is cleaned)
- Decrease in insomnia, since our minds are relaxed and muscle tension is decreased
- Better posture
- Ligaments and bones are strengthened
- Height is maintained
With my inversion table, I was able to gradually increase the angle by changing the position of the tether strap. I did not go to full inversion until I had a couple weeks of experience with gradually increasing angles.
This process was quite similar to other kinds of fitness training, in that we build gradually to a desired end. But when I reached full inversion by hanging from my ankles with my back free from the table, I was able to totally enjoy the feeling!
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS
Over several decades, I have found that Dick’s Sporting Goods is the best source for athletic and fitness equipment of all kinds.
They offer the widest inventory, as well as the best service and pricing that I have found. My purchases have included the following:
- Golf equipment – clubs, bags and accessories
- Tennis racquets, balls and accessories
- Fitness equipment
- Athletic shoes
Check this link for a variety of inversion therapy choices, as well as pertinent information on building a home gym and related fitness and conditioning options.
Elevating our legs is certainly easy enough to do for most of us and the benefits are plentiful. We only need to remind ourselves to take advantage of this, whether by simply elevating our feet or hanging upside down.
As for Dick’s Sporting Goods, I was a customer long before I became an associate. Their policy of supporting and donating to leagues, teams, athletes and outdoor enthusiasts has impacted many local communities.
Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments’ section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring is approaching. Let’s get outdoors!