We’ve all used, felt, and know the word… Stress. We know what it means. We know it’s not the best feeling in the world. But, do we know the full implications it makes on your body? Your body is constantly functioning in two different states to optimize functions and daily life.
Sympathetic, or better known as fight-or-flight. Think training, activity, movement, excitement.
Parasympathetic, or better known as rest-and-digest. Think relaxing, meditative, recovering.
Being stressed constantly puts your body into that sympathetic, fight-or-flight mode. This state is not inherently bad, but the way our society and daily lives tend to pan out, we spend far too much time here, which can cause:
- Inhibited digestion, leading to bloating, discomfort, diarrhea, and an inability to properly absorb nutrients
- Accelerated heart rate
- Raise in blood pressure
- A plethora of negative health effects such as pains, aches, acne, inability to recover from workouts, etc.
Many people who live stressful lives find themselves stuck in this state.
So, how do we get out of this and into a parasympathetic, rest-and-digest state? However you choose to manage stress! Making the conscious effort and taking time out of your day to manage the stresses of training and day-to-day life. Here’s a few examples I use daily:
- 10-30 minutes of slow, steady paced walking, in nature
- Reading something for enjoyment
- Gratitude practices
- Deep breathing practices, here’s the one I use: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tybOi4hjZFQ
By practicing these examples and whatever you find calming, you will be another step closer to helping your body to reach a parasympathetic state, enabling proper recovery systems.