Head Over “Heals”: How to Use an Inversion Table

By: Karl Zarse, MD

One of the most useful items I have used for both myself and my patients is an inversion table.

Traditional stretching is great, but the inversion table pulls your body out to length in ways that other techniques cannot. It is great for stretching your lower back, hips, knees, and ankles.

YOU MUST GO SLOW with this device. And every table sold has a strap that allows you to adjust how much of an angle you want to achieve.

For your first time:
– Put it on the lowest setting so that you barely go past horizontal. You should feel comfortable pulling in your lower back, hips, knees, and ankles. It should not be painful. If it is- you are being too aggressive.
– Hold that position for 90-seconds and then come back to vertical.
– When you are back upright let your body rest and do some gentle stretching.
– Next, go back to inverted and hold for another 90-seconds.
– Do three sets of this and finish with some gentle floor stretching.
– Once you are completely comfortable with this technique and you feel like you have slowed your progress, go ahead and increase how much you are inverting.

You may never need to go completely vertical if you are getting plenty of benefit at lower settings. Only advance if you feel like you have stopped making progress.

I use this device every day. It serves as my warmup for stretching, and I then follow up with stretches focused on my thoracic spine, lower back, hamstrings, quads, hips, and ankles.

Shoot for three sets of 10 seconds stretches for each area.

Daily flexibility work is one of the most important components of Aging Fit. We must fight the constant tendency of our bodies becoming tighter, resulting in joint space narrowing, limited movement, and degenerative arthritis.

If you can make this a part of your daily routine, I guarantee you will be much healthier and have a lot less pain as you age.

This routine takes less than ten minutes and is one of the best rewards you can give your body. I have seen the difference in my patients over the past 20 years, and I can tell you the ones that have stuck with it are glad they did.


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