What happens when you hang upside down for to long?

Vestibular Seeking Behaviours

How can you tell if your child is seeking vestibular input? Here are some behavioral clues to look out for:

  • Can’t sit still
  • In constant motion
  • Acts impulsively
  • Always moving quickly, for example never walks, only runs
  • Plays rambunctiously or rough
  • Sits in unusual positions, for example, feet up in the air over the sofa, sideways, upside down in their chair, etc.
  • Bumps into things and other people, seemingly unaware
  • May seem to “not know their own strength” and accidentally hurt others
  • When trying to sit still, constantly fidgets or rocks in their seat

Kids who excessively seek vestibular input (my own child included) can have it seriously interfere with their functioning on a daily basis.

It’s nearly impossible for a child to sit still and concentrate at school when their vestibular system is under-responsive.

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Which Gravity Inversion Table to Chose?

After decades of using a Teeter Hang Ups gravity inversion table, I moved to Spain in 2001. Rather than carrying the thing on the plane, I decided to leave it in London with my son and his family who enjoy using it as much as I do.

The plan was to simply purchase a new Teeter inversion table once I had settled in. Of course, the technology had somewhat advanced by then. I was happy to discover that the current Teeter Hang Ups 970 LTD inverter was wider than the previous one. That meant I could perform more moves on it without knocking my elbows on its sides as with the previous version. Great news!

How Long Can You Safely Hang Upside Down? 

Now you know that there’s a safe way to hang upside down. You have to do it properly and within short periods only. First-timers have to learn the proper position and then do it for only 30 seconds to one minute. 

If you feel uncomfortable or sick within that time, you can stop it without waiting for the time to expire. The clue is to do it only when you don’t feel sick. You will defeat the benefits of body inversion if you get sick in the process.

Expert yogis can hold their inverted positions for 5 to 12 minutes; however, they have had enough practice to last that long. Don’t attempt to do body inversions without consulting your doctor and without proper instructions.

As I previously said, people with underlying illnesses can die when doing body inversions. So, if you’re not sure if you have a hidden disease, consult your doctor first and ask permission to do it.

For How Long?

How long you stay in the above passive stretch is entirely up to you. It could be only a few minutes the first time around, or it could be an hour-long siesta. Stay there for as long as you are comfortable. So far so good—you are now acquainted with the benefits of gravity. But before you are ready to try hanging upside down, look at a very important side issue: how sitting on chairs can seriously damage the body.

Other Vestibular Input Activities

Hanging upside down is not the only thing that stimulates the vestibular system – although it is one of the most effective and unique experiences.

Other activities and games you can play include:

  • Freeze dance (one of our favorites) – everybody dances really fast to the music and then when the song pauses you freeze! no matter what silly position you were in.
  • This 7 minute HIIT workout
  • Riding a bike
  • Playing on the swings and slides at the playground
  • Swimming (also a great proprioceptive activity)
  • Rhythmic bouncing or rocking on your lap
  • Jumping on a trampoline
  • Pulling your child around the floor on a blanket
  • Crashpad
  • Playing ring-around-the-Rosie
  • This morning workout for kids
  • Basically, anything that involves moving your body, especially your head.

If you’d like even more ideas for sensory activities, read: 52 Vestibular Input Activities for Sensory Seekers

Conclusion – How Long Can You Hang Upside Down?

The average person can hang upside down for a few seconds to a few minutes before they feel overly dizzy and nauseous. Through gradual practice, you could hang upside for longer without feeling too nauseous.

How long can you hang upside down before you die? It would likely take 1 or 2 days of hanging upside down before dying. The buildup of blood and liquid in the upper half of your body would cause asphyxiation (loss of breath). Organs that have been inverted for too long will also stop functioning.

There are no reports of someone dying because of a few minutes of hanging upside down. There are rare cases in which a person in Utah died because he was stuck upside down in a cave for 28 hours. But this is rare. 

So you can hang upside down safely for a few seconds or minutes. When you feel dizzy and uncomfortable, stop and resume your normal upright position.

There are benefits to hanging upside down, but you should consult your doctor first before attempting to do this unnatural position. Your health should always be your priority.

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