How Does the Autonomic Nervous System Affect Your Workout? It helps to understand the effects of adrenaline, and rest and digest vs fight or flight.
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I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the autonomic nervous system. Understanding the basics of this system can help you better appreciate when and what to eat before you exercise. It's extraordinarily complicated, so I'll do my best to boil it down to it's simplest elements. Because this is a simplified explanation, it may not contain the level of detail you find elsewhere.
The autonomic nervous system is composed of two branches, one is called the sympathetic nervous system and one is called the parasympathetic nervous system. Similar to two scales, these two branches compete for dominant influence in the body and many of it's functions. One or the other is never totally turned off, they just scale up or down depending on what the situation or environment demands.
The Autonomic nervous system or ANS is important to understand. It includes sympathetic nervous system aka fight or flight response and the parasympathetic nervous system aka rest and digest response. There are many active hormones including epinephrine, norepinephrine, adrenaline, noradrenaline, and acetylcholine. It affects many body and organ systems including muscarinic, sympathetic tone, parasympathetic tone, heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, salivation, perspiration, pupillary dilation, micturition (urination), sexual arousal, breathing, swallowing, vision, hypothalamus, brain stem, adrenal gland, respiration, cardiac regulation, vasomotor activity, and enteric nervous system. You may hear the following terms associated with the ANS excitatory, inhibitory, sensory, motor, vagus nerve, vagal tone and sympathetic chain.
In terms of athletic performance and physical activity, it affects nearly everything including metabolism of food, carbohydrate or carbs, fat, and protein, diet, workout, fitness, exercise, weight lifting, body building, power lifting, training, sports performance, athletic endurance, weight loss, fat burn, calorie burn, body fat, fat loss, adiposity.
It affects obesity, overweight, BMI or body mass index, glycemic index, glycemic load, complex carbs, simple carbs, glood sugar, glucose, hyperglycemia, insulin, hyperinsulinemia, hypoglycemia.