Benefits of lifting your legs in the air
What does the old saying take a load off or put your feet up mean? For sure resting our tired toes and lazy limbs obviously feels great, but turns out there is actually proof that putting your feet and your legs up can provide some pretty surprising health benefits.
Relieve pressure: by elevating your legs you are taking pressure off the veins. By standing or sitting for extended periods of time, you are putting more pressure on your veins. Elevating your legs helps to take the pressure off your veins.
Feel the flow: the natural flow of blood becomes much easier if your legs are elevated. Rather than making your veins put in extra effort to flow against gravity and up back to your heart, give them a break and elevate them at least 6 inches above your heart.
Reduce inflammation: swelling will also go down the more you elevate your legs, which will help keep your veins happy and healthy. This, in turn, will make it so they don’t have to work so hard and won’t run the risk of possibly becoming overworked, which can lead to numerous vein issues.
Erase oedema: by reversing the effects of gravity on your legs and feet, you can really help to move any stuck or stagnant fluids that may build up there if you have low blood pressure, or spend a lot of time on your feet during your day. In this posture, you will be using gravity to your advantage.
Ease your nervous system: this posture is really intended to be a deeply relaxing pose. When you combine a longer hold with slow, rhythmic breathing, you will be tapping into your "rest and digest" nervous response. In this state, your body will be actively digesting anything you have eaten, as well as working to heal and repair your body.
Stretching: the angle of the body reduces the curve of the lumbar spine, which will elongate and stretch the back muscles. The closer your hips are to the wall, the more stretch you'll create in your hamstrings.
Relieve pelvic floor tension: the pelvic muscles naturally release and relax in this position (more so with a cushion under the pelvis resulting in a constructive exercise for a hypertonic (tense) pelvic floor.
It sounds pretty straightforward, but there are some simple tips to get the most out of elevating your legs.
Raise your legs above your heart. This is the only way that elevating your legs will be effective.
Lift your legs three times a day. Doing this just once in a while isn’t going to cut it. You are going to need to make this part of your regular daily routine in order to see some actual results.
Keep your legs lifted for at least 15 minutes. The longer, the better, but if all you can squeeze in is 15 minutes 3 times a day, then do it. Ideally, you can do it while watching a show on television, or while doing some work on your laptop. That way, you are killing two birds with one stone.
Don’t forget a cushion for comfort. Whatever you do, do not elevate your legs on a table or a desk without using a cushion. If you are putting your legs right on the hard surface, then you run the risk of creating even more problems. So be sure to find a pillow or a cushion to pad your legs. It’s also important to make sure your neck and back are properly supported.