Hello there beautiful friends. Have you ever thought much about how your body makes energy? I’m sure we’ve all felt high energy and low energy states but maybe just write them off as good days or bad days. Consider the surrounding factors like sleep, nutrition, mood etc. It’s good to think of how to engineer a high energy state on a daily basis to optimize the functioning of your body and mind. I believe this begins with breathing as that is the primary source of energy, oxygen. Today I’d like you to consider the system which will transport the oxygen into your cells, organs and muscle tissue. That system is called circulation.
In a way our bloodstream is an interstate highway where goods are being delivered on a massive scale. These goods include nutrients from our food, hormones released by our endocrine glands and of course oxygen/carbon dioxide. This is very valuable cargo and so naturally it’s important that that we maintain the roads and monitor what is being sent for potential threats. You can consider yourself both highway patrol and road maintenance.
To maintain an optimized cardiovascular system one very important factor is the smooth muscle surrounding your arteries which will help to boost the blood along. This will relieve some of the workload from your heart, increasing your ability to enter the relaxation response. (this is when we can suppress inflammation/ digest food /sleep well etc.) One way to accomplish this is by exposing yourself to varying temperatures. Cold and heat will cause blood vessels capillaries to constrict or dilate which trains the smooth muscle.
Another thing to consider is blood pressure. Generally high blood pressure is thought of as an unfavorable thing and this is true for chronically high blood pressure. Temporarily increased blood pressure can deliver the goods in the blood much more precisely and effectively. By performing internal squeezes called bandhas in yoga, valsalva maneuver (exhaling against closed airway) and getting into certain positions we can affect our blood pressure and manipulate our circulation in a more intentional way. This will allow for huge for flexibility, mobility, injury and performance.
Minding what’s traveling through your highway is also important. Sugar, added chemicals like hormones and antibiotics or processing agents can cause problems to our system. Also the chronic release of endogenous hormones can be problematic if they are in the wrong proportions. This makes it important to consider mood and attitude as well since these things affect the hormones running through our system in a big way, as do exercise and even temperature variance. Studies have shown the importance of things like community and purpose in health and longevity which makes sense considering their tremendous hormonal impact.
This is a huge topic which we will likely revisit but for today think about your highway, what’s traveling through there? Is it being stimulated by varying temperatures and positions? What kind of hormones are traveling along your interstate? (how do you feel?)If you want to learn more about how to manipulate your blood pressure or the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood check out Wim Hof Method video minicourse
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As always, Happy Training!