Have you heard of the “Wandering Nerve” that start’s in your brain stem and wanders down both sides of your body to your colon?
This 12th cranial nerve connects your brain to your gut. So that “Gut feeling” is real! It’s the nerve that connects your brain to your body!
The Vagus nerve has sensory and motor functions. Today I would like to discuss another very important function… Stress response!
Fight or Flight
By now, I am guessing everyone has heard of Fight or Flight. This nerve is in charge of the Fight or Flight reflex. (Although the body goes thru a chemical process known as the Hypothalamus, Pituitary Adrenal Axis that triggers the vagus nerve. Let’s just take it from the Vagus nerve.)
One critical thing I need to point out to everyone is your body has the same stress response whether you are being chased by a lion or if you’re stuck in traffic… Fight or Flight and it has been shown…. Stress is responsible for 85% plus disease and kills!
Since the vagus nerve is the stress nerve we need to ensure it is healthy and to measure this is the vagal tone – the quality of the nerve. Simple test to determine if your vagal tone is healthy, how quickly your heart rate returns after a workout?
At Primal ReBOUND, after a 30 second sprint with Primal or Primal Meets Bike we are definitely improving the health of this nerve while at the same time seeing the results from the first time this fitness program was attempted. Again, we do a very short stress on the body and bring it back with the Sprint 8 format.
Athletes and those who work out have a higher vagal tone then those who live a sedentary lifestyle. IF this nerve is the key to relaxation, it is very important to keep this nerve healthy and strong.
Stimulating the Vagus nerve to relax the body… BREATHE! Yes, you heard that saying, probably rolled your eyes when someone said this to you but guess what? It works! But there is a correct way to do this. First understand that it is in the exhale that stimulates the vagus nerve to shut off the Fight or Flight and brings you calmness so the focus needs to be on both inhalation and exhalation.
Researchers have found one of the best ways to do this is by doing the following: Breathe in for 5 seconds then breathe out for 5 seconds. This equates to 6 breaths a minute.
Let’s face it, if stress is responsible for 80 % plus of our disease and death and if working out – smartly – to ensure the health of your vagus nerve as well as doing this simple breathing technique…
This is giving you control over your health and just might save your life! Lastly, having control over your stress response is also a good thing for you to keep your cool and not be trigger happy on your reactions to stress that you may regret later.
Educate to Empower You to Own your Health!
Roxanne Linton WHE,WHC,CCP
Owner Primal ReBOUND and Whole Health Today