Probably the single most important system in your body – and how to make ensure its functioning properly - Bean

Let’s be honest for a minute, the main reason the vast majority of us focus on diet and exercise is from a vanity point of view, we want to look the best we can!

But lets put aesthetics aside for a minute, and consider what we can do to ensure we are as healthy as we possibly can be, and in turn live a long and problem free life.

Its key to eat a varied and balanced diet in the right proportions to your needs. And yes, its important to work important parts of our body, such as the cardiovascular system and muscular system through regular structured exercise and movement.

However It is also really important to pay attention to some key systems in the body, especially our nervous system which controls so so much of what we do and the efficiency at which we function.

If we find ourselves in a constant state of stress we will find ourselves in what’s called a sympathetic nervous system dominant state. This part of our nervous system kicks in when we are in states of stress such as through intense exercise, stressful situations or simplest busy ‘non-stop lifestyles’ that so many of us seem to lead.

However, if this sounds like you it could be severely affecting your health without you being aware of it. Being in such a state can lead to many health issues including:

  • Digestive problems.
  • Sleep issues from being ‘tired but wired’.
  • High levels of fatigue.
  • Increased blood sugar and blood pressure.
  • Lowered immunity.
  • Unexplained weight gain or lack of ability to lose weight.

All these symptoms obviously can have an immense impact on long term health and wellbeing, which should be a major priority for everyone.

So what can we do about it? Well, in order to get out of such a sympathetic dominant state, we need to learn how to tap into our parasympathetic nervous system,  which is very much your ‘rest and digest’ system that controls relaxation, comfort and rest.

In order to tap into you parasympathetic nervous system we recommend giving the following a try:

  • Know your limits and learn to say ‘No’. You can’t do everything or please everyone so don’t stress trying to!
  • Make stress management a priority – Practice some breathing techniques, meditate, take up yoga or simply allow yourself to sit in silence for a few minutes. (Give this 20 min stretch session a go, it will the trick for sure!). Check out this session with our mobility coach Rob.
  • Aim to get 15 minutes of sunshine each day – and immerse yourself in nature as much as you can. Go for a walk and gather your thoughts, it can do real wonders. We’ve somehow forgotten how great a relaxed walk can be.
  • Remove anything from your life that is bringing you down, causing you stress or acting as negative energy – If it doesn’t better you, you don’t need it!
  • Try and stop worrying – Concern yourselves with what you can change and stop stressing about something you have absolutely no ability to change.
  • PUT DOWN THE PHONE! – Technology is great but if we’re all brutally honest, we spend way too much time with our face in a screen. Engage in conversation with loves ones instead and play with your kids, they will pick up your bad habits so that should be a good incentive. Especially avoid looking at a screen when in bed prior to sleep, the blue light emitted can seriously prevent the release of the hormones that send us into a tired sleepy state, and who doesn’t love to sleep!
  • Light some candles, put some music on a take a bath – you can’t get much more relaxing than this, and the benefits are endless!
  • Get enough good quality sleep – Feeling tired increases your stress levels, can make you feel irritable and snappy and may make you think and behave irrationally. Being tired can also have an impact on whether you exercise or not, and we don’t want you skipping sessions!
  • Nourish your body well -What we eat also plays a huge part in how we feel physically and mentally, so make sure to choose wisely. Eat a wide variety of whole foods foods that are rich in nutrients and minerals. Mountains of veg are a must!

Giving some of these suggestions a go can really help in balancing out your nervous system, allowing you to be in the right one when required, which will in turn allow you to train, work and party hard, but at the same time giving your body some much needed recovery that it craves in order for you to maintain good health.

Get on it!