Top 9 Bad Habits That Slow Down Your Brain
By Joanne Richard / Toronto Sun
You’re worried about middle age spread?
That’s nothing! Try middle-age career death!
We’re killing our brain power and competitive edge by committing
brain-aging sins. Overdosing on coffee, sitting all day, working way
too long hours, and not exercising combine to undermine our work
performance and knock us out of the game, says Marcel Daane, author of Headstrong
Performance: Improve Your Mental Performance with Nutrition,
Exercise, and Neuroscience.
“Mental sharpness and the ability to innovate, collaborate, and connect
are the price of admission in today’s world,” says Danne.
But a litany of office offences along with relentless work demands
brings on exhaustion and stress. Chronic fatigue ages us rapidly and
shrinks brains, says Daane, “which means stressed executives have about
the same brain capacity as people decades older.
“This deterioration of critical brain regions hinders memory
processing, strategic planning, and the ability to manage anxiety,
which are all crucial skills for the executive,” says the productivity
and performance expert.
Being fit to lead and perform is critical to surviving the corporate
jungle. Fitter brains equal greater energy and superior performance,
says Daane, of headstrongperformance.net.
So kill the brain drain by cutting out these corporate crimes:
You head for the couch instead
of out for a walk. Moving your body
helps your brain recover better and faster. “Movement produces proteins
and hormones in the brain that stimulate memory and make you more
alert,” says Daane. Keep your brain awake with a walk. “Just 12 minutes
of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise improves cognitive
function and oxygenation and provides energy.”
You skip breakfast. A
recipe for brain shrinkage. You need fuel for the
brain to perform and recover from stress. “Without proper fuel, neurons
in the brain die,” says Daane. “Just as an athlete’s muscles shrink
without proper refuelling, so do the executive’s mental muscles.”
You skip lunch to catch up on
your e-mail. Once again, not feeding your
brain starves out your competitive edge. “The brain has a minimal
capacity to store its own glucose, which is the primary brain fuel, so
it relies on you to feed it regularly,” says Daane. Skipping meals
greatly impacts the regions of your brain responsible for
self-regulation, empathy and solution-based thinking. “You become
hyper-responsive to stress and brain cells in your memory processing
centres die and your brain ages more rapidly.”
Bad snack attacks: Processed
foods like cookies, chips and sugary
drinks further fuel brain inflammation, and devastation. “They speed up
brain-cell destruction from stress, resulting in memory decline similar
to what we see in Alzheimer’s patients,” says Daane.
You don’t add water. You
may get a boost from coffee and pop but the
crash will soon follow resulting in fatigue, says Daane. “The more
caffeine you consume, the greater the impact of stress on your brain,
and the more dehydrated you become. The best hydration is water, which
transports nutrients and oxygen into your tissues and brain cells,
resulting in sustained performance.”
Indulging in one too many to
unwind. Drinking alcohol anaesthetizes and
overstimulates our brain, which causes additional trauma to the
hippocampus — our memory-processing centre — and compounds the damage
already inflicted by a stressful day. “The brain can recover from the
occasional trauma of drinking, but if it’s too much and too often, it
loses its capacity to recover, resulting in accelerated aging.”
You sacrifice sleep on the altar
of work. Sleep deprivation damages
brain health and function. “One study showed a single 90-minute
reduction in sleep decreased performance and alertness by a whopping
32%, and another study showed that a chronic lack of sleep caused
significant decreases in brain volume and memory,” says Daane. Too few
Zzzs can also contribute to body-fat gain, high blood-pressure, heart
disease and diabetes.
You skip office chats and stay
in your cubicle. Research suggests that
more than 50% of employees suffer from feelings of isolation at work.
“Humans need interaction and connectivity,” says Daane. Without it, we
suffer reduced capacity for planning, communicating, impulse control,
imagination and empathy. “Conversely, social interactions help us learn
and see other perspectives. They help us relax and feel happier. They
make us more effective when we do return to focusing on work.”
You sit all day. Count
on increased brain stress and early mortality
from sitting more than six to eight hours a day, reports research.
“Every day, millions of executives and office workers suffer the ill
effects of sitting too much,” says Daane. Besides bringing on an early
death, sitting contributes to exhaustion, stiff necks, heavy limbs,
aching backs and diminishes range of motion over time.
Related Article: Smart People Stay Up Late, Do More Drugs, Have More Sex
(at) mindpowernews.com / Privacy
Mystery Gift with any Donation to Mind Power News!