In our last article we spoke about a very fascinating and significant subdivision of the human nervous system. This – the autonomic nervous system – is made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. These are your “fight or flight” and “rest and digest” controls and they work like a dial. If one is turned up, the other is turned down. All too commonly we are seeing a chronic and overwhelming imbalance of the autonomic nervous system. This state of constant fight or flight and the symptoms that go with it is aptly termed sympathetic dominance.
We’ve all heard of “fight or flight”, right? The innate human response to stressful situations. For our primal ancestors, it was the means by which they responded to the sudden threat of some large and powerful four-legged beast pouncing to attack. Flash forward a few thousand years now to a time where fight or flight is more likely how we react to a comment on Facebook that we don’t agree with. But I digress; the point is that everyone has heard of this physiological stress response, but who knows the implications of it? What does it have to do with your general health? And to prick up the ears of you runners, what does fighting or flying have to do with your athletic performance?
New Zealander, Ruby Muir is one of the world’s most promising young trail-runners and a fearless, force of nature across broken terrain. In "Just Keep Running” Ruby shares her journey of love and loss and the inner struggles between the hippy ideals of her upbringing and how that conflicts with the competitive nature of elite sport.
Article by Matt Rayment
Mental Health Is a divisive topic, and one which for every question or challenge that is posed there will be at least as many answers or modalities that portend to answer the specific challenge. Mental health is misunderstood, and those who experience serious mental illness over their lifetime experience significant discrimination and stigma. Unfortunately, this pattern of discrimination and stereotyping extends to those health professionals who work in mental health services, both from within the health system and from those outside it. Mental ill health has significant negative physical health consequences over the course of a person’s lifetime. A person with a lived experience of severe mental illness may have a life expectancy that is 20 years less than that of a person who does not suffer mental illness. Certainly, lifestyle and other factors can influence our mental states somewhat, those of us who exercise regularly, rest well and eat a balanced diet can expect to feel better generally however there is no substitute for considered treatment* of mental health disorders from a registered health professional. I say this, as a professional, not an enthusiastic amateur.
As I drove through the central Auckland suburbs on Sunday morning on my way to do some exercise and chase it with a long black from my local, I marvelled at the sites passing by. No, I don’t mean the bare branches of the mid-winter trees or the decades-old homes sitting on prime yet horrendously inflated real estate. I was instead enjoying the people watching on offer. Just like me, on my way to the gym to get in some Sunday morning movement, there were plenty of other keen Kiwis out there doing their thing; running, biking or simply strolling. Bloody good on ‘em! It’s fantastic to see people keeping active, promoting health and perhaps even having a chuckle at the young fellow across the road looking dishevelled as he makes the homeward walk of shame.
“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
What are your habits? Are they mostly good? Do they take you towards your goals, towards your purpose? Do they positively affect your life and the lives of those around you? What are your not-so-good habits?