Pro Tip: Take Some Time to BREATHE

When it comes to performing your best, sometimes it's the smallest habits that make the biggest changes. Taking some time after your practice or training session to just breathe might be one of them.

@@Your main goal immediately after training is to kickstart the recovery process.@@ This requires your nervous system to flip the switch from a sympathetic-dominant state (“fight or flight” mode) to a parasympathetic-dominant state (“rest and digest” mode). 

During a workout, your sympathetic nervous system is activated, helping to elevate your heart rate, increase blood flow to working muscles, and making other physiological changes to allow your body to accomplish hard work.

But after your workout, your parasympathetic nervous system needs to take over in order to facilitate optimal recovery by lowering your heart rate, starting the tissue repair process, etc. This switch from sympathetic to parasympathetic can be aided by slow and controlled diaphragmatic breathing.

Immediately following your workout and active cooldown, take some time to lie down, put your feet up (lying on the floor with legs up the wall works well), and inhale and exhale slowly for anywhere from 5-15 minutes. This simple practice can help quiet your sympathetic and activate your parasympathetic nervous system, kickstarting your body’s repair and recovery process from a hard day’s session. 

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Christye Estes, CSCS, is one of the regular contributors to the Volt blog. She is an NSCA-certified strength coach and a Sport Performance Specialist at Volt.
Learn more about Christye and read her other posts | @CoachChristye