The ANS controls important body functions using two antagonistic branches: The sympathetic nerve activates functions that are responsible for the retrieval of energy reserves and prepares the body for physical or mental performance. The parasympathetic nerve on the other side is activated for recreation and activates processes that build up energy reserves. Our heart is innervated by both branches of the ANS alike. While a sympathetic stimulus leads to an increase in heart rate, a parasympathetic stimulus reduces the heart rate.
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