To burn more calories, to lose weight, you need to move faster and work harder, right? Turns out, that’s not always true, especially if you are burning the candle at both ends and chronically rushing through your days.
The high speed of life sets you up for being mentally and metabolically stressed out. After all, the human brain is constantly seeking to keep you safe and alive. When life is easy and you are doing one thing at a time, the brain can attend to basic needs, including repairing tissues, building muscle, and cleaning house because it is not worried about basic survival. Higher brain functions like logical thinking and decision making work a lot better as well.
When you’re not worried about checking the next task off your list of things to do, you turn on the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows for better digestion, calorie burning, muscle building and overall health. If you shift into speed-demon mode, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in, which is all about survival. In survival mode, your body slows or even stops digestion, releases a bunch of stress hormones, stores fat, and puts an end to repairing tissues and building muscle. You also breathe more shallowly in sympathetic stress mode, which means you are not getting enough oxygen. This can affect decision making, calorie burning, and of course, your health.
All of that shows that slowing down can actually increase your calorie burning potential, muscle mass and metabolic rate, so give it a try! Stop and smell the roses, breathe deeply, exercise a little easier, feel the earth beneath your feet and see what happens.