Recently we have been talking about the importance of having balance in our lives and, more specifically, balance in our body. For example, it has been well documented that a certain state of chronic sympathetic dominance exists in our western society. What is sympathetic dominance? Well, you can read about it here. Simply, it is a state of unwanted disproportionate nervous system function in which we are constantly overstimulated or highly-strung.
The health effects of sympathetic dominance stretch far and wide; from anxiety to digestive issues and even diminished libido. The effects on our running performance are equally as poisonous. You get the picture.
To that end, here are a few things that we know and trust to be wonderfully effective in balancing the nervous system (and therefore balancing our training and our lifestyles!):
Do more of what you love
It is so easy to get caught in the throes of a routinely busy lifestyle, just ticking off to-do lists and not necessarily enjoying much of what we do. Do yourself the favour of scheduling in some “me time” to partake in whatever it is that you love doing. Listen to music, catch up with friends, spend time with family or read a book. If you just spend a few more minutes a day doing what you love, the ripple effect on your weeks and months can be quite profound.
Don’t just run
Do other physical activities, too! Cross training and prehab exercises (like yoga and pilates) deserve a couple of spots in your weekly routine just as much as your running does.
Practice mindfulness or meditation
It can be as discrete as pausing to take three deep breaths every so often throughout the day, or as structured as a formal practice. There are now so many inventive ways to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into a busy lifestyle, you’ve really got no excuse.
Get what? Get adjusted! Chiropractic care is a proven safe and effective method for addressing the nervous system and bringing about balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic subdivisions. Many chiropractors will be able to measure your heart rate variability (HRV) to see just how balanced you are.
Reduce the stimulation
We have endless visual, auditory, mechanical and metaphysical stimuli all around us, all of the time. TV, cell phones, billboards, traffic, children, workmates, Wi-Fi, radio waves… It goes on. Sometimes we just need to put a few of these things down or aside and tune out. Focus on just one thing or go and get out into nature and away from all of the artificial and unnatural.
Eat real food
Following the previous point, it’s another garbage-in-garbage-out argument. Don’t expect a Ferrari performance if you’re only providing the fuel for a tractor. Your naturally-made body will not only recognise, but relish the nourishment of real, natural foods. The more synthetic and artificial stuff that is added to your food, the harder time your body is going to have in processing it. Have a read of the label of the last thing you ate. Do you recognise and understand all of the words in the ingredient list?
As always, we’d love to hear how you get on with applying some of these ideas into your training and lifestyle. Or perhaps you’d like to share with us how you keep a balance!