5 Top Benefits Of Handstands + Why To Do Them Daily
Handstands are an extremely underrated exercise, for one main reason: most people think they just can't do them.
But just because you didn't do gymnastics when you were younger and aren't yet an advanced yoga practitioner doesn't mean you can't start doing handstands starting today.
Aside from bringing out your inner kid and just being plain fun to do, there are actually a number of handstand benefits for your health, especially if you do them on a daily basis.
So whether you do them against a wall or manage to do freestanding ones, here are five reasons why you should do handstands every day:
1. They'll make your upper body super strong
In order to stay upside down for any length of time, you'll need a massive amount of shoulder, arm, and upper back strength. In fact, it's not uncommon for beginners to start shaking after just a few seconds of holding a handstand.
To build up strength, start by holding a handstand against a wall for three sets of 5 to 10 seconds. Work up to holding them for a minute or two at a time. Practice often, and watch as your upper body strength skyrockets.
2. They'll increase your balance
If you've ever tried a handstand, you know that besides needing to be strong to do them, you'll also need to have substantial balancing skills as well in order to be able to hold yourself up. Freestanding handstands, especially, require you to be able to have full control over your muscles and to constantly make small adjustments to avoid falling.
Practicing freestanding handstands or doing handstands against a wall and trying to take your feet off the wall for as long as possible will help increase your balancing abilities like no other exercise can.
3. They can boost your mood
Not only will handstands make you strong and help improve your balancing abilities, handstands may also make you feel happier, since the blood flow to your brain has an energizing and calming effect, especially when you're feeling really stressed out.
Another way handstands can help your mood is by reducing the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can not only de-stress you in the short-term but could also help relieve feelings of sadness and anxiety.
4. They build core strength
There's no need to spend hours focusing just on your abs—you can have fun doing handstands and build core strength as well.
Since staying upside down forces you to stabilize your muscles, you're constantly working your abs, as well as other key muscle groups such as your hip flexors, hamstrings, inner thigh muscles, obliques and lower back while in a handstand. Training handstands every day will get you a well balanced, super strong core.
5. They help with bone health, circulation and breathing
Since handstands are technically a weight-bearing exercise, they can help strengthen your bones, making you less prone to osteoporosis. Handstands are also beneficial for your spine, and help aid bone health in your shoulders, arms and wrists.
Not only that, the upside-down nature of a handstand can increase circulation to your upper body, while relieving pressure on your feet and legs and stretching your diaphragm at the same time, which in turn can increase blood flow to your lungs.
Start building handstands into your daily routine, even if it's just a few a day. You'll not only be benefiting your health; you'll have a blast while doing it.
Krista Stryker, NSCA-CPT is the author of The 12-Minute Athlete: Get Fitter, Faster, and Stronger Using HIIT and Your Bodyweight and a leading expert on high intensity interval training (HIIT) and bodyweight fitness. She currently lives in Venice, California, and is a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
From trying her first push up in college, to teaching herself to do pull ups and handstands, Krista is living proof of her philosophy that everybody is an athlete. She has helped tens of thousands of people to unlock their full athletic potential through her 12 Minute Athlete HIIT Workouts app and 12 Minute Athlete blog. You can find her @12minuteathlete on all social platforms.