Digestion’s worst enemy; stress
We’re all currently facing unprecedented times right now due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of us may have lost our jobs or have been placed on furlough. We’ve also lost our ability to socialize with friends and loved ones or network for our jobs. Even worse, some of us have had close ones affected by this disease and have lost friends/loved ones!
We understand how hard this time has been. It’s had an effect on us as gym owners well, having to temporarily shut down the gym and find new ways to keep our business afloat. With all of these things happening so quickly, it can cause a lot of stress in our lives, which ultimately have an impact on the thing we’re working so hard to maintain: our health.
Stress and its effects on digestion
Stress can have a huge impact on our metabolism, specifically how we digest food. That said, the process of digestion is not just associated with stuffing food in our faces and down our throats. Our digestion system is a highly advanced, complex system that plays a vital role with mood changes, daily energy levels, nutrient absorption and other important factors of our health. If stress is introduced at a heavy dosage – albeit from work, relationships or this pandemic – that can lead to a lot of negative consequences regarding our bodies healthy functioning.
Last week we discussed the autonomic nervous system’s role, specifically the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and how they affect digestion. It’s important to bring this up again as stress can invoke our SNS system to activate, effectively shutting off or slowing down our digestion process, which in turn can lead to malnourishment, hormonal imbalances, depleted energy levels and other health complications.
To combat those consequences, we must try to adjust ourselves to focus on the ability to control what we can, and let the things we can not control play themselves out. Exercise and movement, dieting, meditation and new ways to socialize (virtually), are all within our collective reach during this time. When it comes to our health and developing better habits, how many times have we mentioned to ourselves or to our coaches, “If I only had more time…”?
By being able to identify areas you can control, you can make time for self-betterment and reduce stress, even by making the smallest of changes.
Tips for reducing stress
- Take 1 – 5 minutes to meditate.
Try isolating yourself by shutting off or silencing your phone for a moment. Play relaxing sounds or non-lyrical music and try focusing on your breathing. Each time a thought enters your mind, try washing it out by focusing on your breath.
- Stretch for 2 minutes.
Try to periodically take a moment to stand and stretch, especially if you’re constantly sitting while working remotely.
- Go out for a walk.
Give yourself a moment to take in the day by going for a short walk.
Allow your schedule to include some time to workout, even if it’s for 15 min. You can sign up for any of our online/remote services if you need a structured training plan to follow.