Parasympathetic Nervous System

By Fi Keable

Often, we live our lives in fight and flight which is our sympathetic nervous system, especially with some of the added stresses in our lives at present, so we need to ensure we are managing these stresses efficiently. Stress can affect our digestion, sleep, and recovery. Time to get into a parasympathetic state! In order to improve digestion, wellbeing and reduce stress and anxiety, we need to tap into stimulating our parasympathetic nervous system. This is a topic that most people don’t relate to when they think of exercise however if we don’t have enough time in a parasympathetic state we won’t recover from training as efficiently and we can end up with other areas being neglected too – such as our digestion, sleep and breathing.

Did you know that a hug can help you stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system? However, now we can’t always just “hug” all our friends (don’t worry, we will get this back, we just need to become more inventive in these present times). So, time to look at other ways you can ensure you are in a parasympathetic state more often in your life:

3 of the many ways to get into a parasympathetic state:

  1. Deep abdominal breathing to the diaphragm. Preference to nasal breathing and particularly focussing on a longer exhale than inhale. If you struggle breathing in through the nose to get the breath to the diaphragm, try breathing in your mouth through pursed lips, like you’re drinking through a straw. Fun fact: as mentioned in our last article, nose is for breathing, mouth is for eating. Your nose acts as a natural filter for your body against germs.

  1. Yoga, massage, foam rolling (gentle, maintaining the ability to breathe through this process) and stretching by simply spending time in some nice long static stretches.

  1. Play with animals, children and get into nature.

At The Real Body Movement, we offer Live Online Coaching as well as In-Studio and some of our classes are Hybrid where it’s Live Online and In-Studio together. As some people are staying home to isolate or just trying to minimise their time out and about, the Live Online options of classes is a great way to still get in a session without having to leave home (you can even do this one in your PJ’s if you wish). So, to give you an online experience, here is a link to a Stretch’n’Restore Class that I ran as a hybrid session. You will benefit having a foam roller if you have one for this session and a lacrosse ball but if you don’t just enjoy the stretching elements. Get chilled… give this one a go.

Healthy regards,


PS. If you are chasing a foam roller or lacrosse ball… we stock these in our studio.