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Getting off your feet and onto your hands provides a range of health benefits. A handstand requires the use of muscles that don't come into play as extensively as if you perform exercises in seated or standing position. Handstand pushups are a particularly good exercise for upper-body and core strength. Handstands also enable you to confront your fear of falling and see the world from a different perspective, so the benefits are mental as well as physical.
Handstands and handstand pushups are an excellent way to build muscles in the chest, shoulder and triceps. Pushing 100 percent of your body weight up and lowering it to the floor demands much more exertion that standard pushups or shoulder presses on a weight machine. Handstand pushups improve core strength as well, and work much better than devices such as balance boards or exercise balls. As a weight-bearing exercise, handstands help strengthen bones in your wrists, fingers, elbows, arms and shoulders, which might help prevent the brittle bones of osteoporosis in the future.
Handstands require you to literally look at the world upside down, which is disorienting for most people. However, after a few attempts to do a handstand, your brain becomes used to seeing from a different perspective, according to U.K. Fire Service Resources fitness consultant James Holder, which greatly improves your spatial awareness and balance. The high degree of athleticism necessary to hold your body in an upside down position also helps increase your balance and spatial awareness.
Handstands are particularly beneficial because they bring you "face-to-face with your insecurities and fears" and mastering them enables you to build self-confidence, courage and even a "a somewhat playful and curious approach to solving challenges," says "Yoga Journal." It allows yoga disciples to observe and overcome such emotions.
Some yoga practitioners claim that balancing your body upside down offers other physical and mental benefits. They assert that reverse gravity gives your vital organs a rest while increasing your concentration and mental acuity. It also might help improve your circulation, respiration and waste elimination functions. Perform handstands in a safe environment. Start slowly if you have never done them. You can use an instructor, a friend or a wall to spot you until you eventually are ready to go solo.