Autonomic Nervous System Balance

Today, fitness is probably the first thing we see on TV when we wake up; and the last thing on our mind before we go to bed after we wake up at 2 AM to eat a snack; nowadays, we take for granted that if we need to lose weight, gain muscle or relieve stress, we need to go to the gym. This has been the gold standard for many years, but as society and technology evolves, so should our habits, which ought to adapt to our routine and the time we can dedicate to activities like exercising and cooking healthier options.

Some people do still work their schedule around their fitness or gym hours, and get more stressed with their work or study time because they’re focusing all their energy and getting drained at the gym, which has the purpose of getting them healthier, and in this case is doing the exact opposite. And to top it all, most times, they don’t even see the results they’re expecting. This is the time when they ask themselves or their trainers why?

The answer is very simple: The solution is to develop routines that adapt to our schedules, to take advantage of the opportunities that the 21st century offers. Because a ‘’21st century lifestyle’’ doesn’t have to lead to being overweight. Today, keeping your body healthy has become easier than ever: We can find almost everything we’re looking for in our local store: Pre-chopped onions or pumpkin, protein bars, protein shakes, almond or cashew milk, the healthiest complex carbohydrates from tropical countries, and beautiful vegetables, all clean and ready to go.

And when it comes to working out, there are DVD’s and home routines all the way from 8 to 25 to 50 minutes, from beginners to professional body builders, and they’re all available online. So getting a couple of those after you’ve been working so hard at the gym will buy you some time for yourself and save you some gas too.

So, let’s say three weeks into working out and you don’t want to move a muscle to go train. Why is that? Did your motivation run off? Is working out at that time not as comfortable as you thought? The fact we need to realize is that all things your body does when it’s awake or asleep generate an answer.

Stimuli will produce a response, even when it’s not voluntary, like digestion, for example, it gets the cells going, and all that cellular activity and the brain signals involved, translate into physiological stress. This is no different on the body than the way regular stress affects all of us.

So imagine you are running on the treadmill on a Sunday morning after a nice brunch. That wouldn’t represent a stressful situation. Neither would the cardio workout you’re putting in have a negative effect on your body. 
Now imagine running on a treadmill at 8 PM on a Tuesday night after a long day of work pretty similar to the one you’ll have the next day, when you have to get up at 6:30 AM.

Or similarly, you’re doing spinning at the gym on a Sunday night and have your midterms beginning the next morning. 
For years science has seen the body as a machine, but that has changed. The muscles might be ready in any of those cases, to put in the work, spike your heart rate and finishthe workout. But try adding that cellular and physiological stress, to the personal and psychological stress each of us has to deal with in our individual situations. That’s a lot.

That’s when 21st century levels of stress have to match 21st century solutions. The human body’s sole goal is to protect you and preserve your existence. It is not a cage but rather a temple. Would you make your house go through an earthquake on a daily basis?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy. It begins with giving up all those indulgent sweets and treats and reducing those cheese burgers to only once a week. Then it goes on into adding a little walking here and there, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, to getting a gym membership, where you go all excited and sweat for endless hours and get all tired

We need to keep our muscles and bones moving, this is true. But we have to do it in a way that doesn’t affect our mind. Because they’re not separate but one. An overly stressed body is like a dehydrated body, it won’t burn calories as efficiently, in fact, it might see the workout as a threat to your survival, making you gain weight instead for a time of scarcity. 

So organize your meals ahead of time, train at home if you can’t go to the gym, do a stretching routine every now and then, try to include yoga or just a walk around the park at least once a week. Breathe fresh air; try to spend time with nature. And always try to keep your body in a state of balance so it doesn’t take in more stress than it can, and you can progress easily and more efficiently towards your personal health and fitness goals.