The Importance of Slowing Down
Moving our bodies can give us a bit of a high that can become slightly addictive, and as the technological era advances faster than we ever predicted, so has our need for speed. Being busy is somehow a badge of honour and resting is considered indulgent and far out of the realms of possible for a lot of us. Sound all too familiar? Here’s why proper relaxation is integral for your health.
Fight or Flight
By training hard and working hard with no rest, we’re likely to be releasing the hormones that put the body into fight or flight, an instinctive physiological response our ancestors relied upon to survive in the wild and something we need today in big emergencies. Today however, our stresses don’t come from being chased by a Saber-toothed tiger, so our bodies tend to overreact to stressors that are non-life threatening like work stresses and being busy in general, triggering the same response in our body.
How do I know if I’m in fight or flight?
You won’t start squaring up to the guy serving you an Americano as if he’s about to kill you, but the Sympathetic division (fight or flight) will prepare the body for an emergency by increasing the heart rate and the force of heart contractions widens the airways making breathing easier, the body then releases any stored energy and muscular strength. Most importantly, when we’re in fight or flight, the body’s processes that are less important like urination or digestion are slowed right down. If we train too hard without resting, we’re far more likely to find ourselves unconsciously in this position.
Tapping into the Parasympathetic nervous system..
Like sleep and wakefulness, rest and activity are two-sides of the same coin. If you overdo or skip out on one, you’ll affect the other. Easier said than done when you have a busy life right? I’d argue no. We all make time to have a shower, brush our teeth each day, so finding just five minutes to cleanse your mind in the way of meditation is a sure-fire way of getting ourselves into our rest and digest response, The Parasympathetic nervous system. On the most basic level, meditation relieves stress. The mind is amazing when its used as a tool, but when its calling the shots we can start to fall short and stress occurs, and our decisions are very reactive. Getting yourself into that state you experience in Savasana at the end of yoga class, between sleep and awareness taking your body away from the heady realms of hyper stimulation is almost integral to your well-being.
Using fat for fuel won’t work unless you rest…
‘Constantly being in a stressful state stops your body from being capable of using fat for fuel.’ Says our senior performance specialist and head of learning and training Mike Tanner. ‘When you’re stressed, the body is running on adrenals and unable to breakdown body fat to be used for energy.’ If that’s not enough to make to kick back, stick your feet up and press pause with a cup of our Serenity supplement, we’re not sure what will!
By Rosie Underwood