Modern life has made us all extremely mechanical. Much like Data from Star Trek, we start our days when we’re asked, do what we’re asked and we finally shut off when we’re asked.
How many of us actually spend time charting out a healthy routine, inclusive of a wholesome diet, proper sleep pattern and an exercise plan? Maybe we’ll do the whole healthy routine thing when we’re retired and forever rocking our Lycra sweatsuits.
We don’t want to nag, but you need to know that it’s not only your physical health that is affected by your lifestyle. It also impacts our cognitive abilities.
If your boss is unhappy with your work as of late, it could have something to do with your poor health. Not hitting the health landmarks could result in a serious lack of attention and ability to perform at work.
Here are 5 reasons why your IQ is no good without your HealthQ:
1. Sleep Is Not Optional.
Working late nights to please your boss? Chances are you’ll mess up the project anyway! Many studies prove that sleep deprivation negatively impacts an individual’s thinking and learning capabilities.
Sleeping for less than 6 hours a day can disrupt the neural pathways that regulate the flow of information from one part of your brain to another. This may hamper your decision-making and problem-solving abilities. Erratic sleeping habits can also disrupt your concentration and ability to absorb meaningful information.
2. Colours in Your Diet Are Great For Gray Matter
Poor eating habits also lead to a decrease in cognition. According to this article by The Journal of Physiology, a healthy diet comprising of foods rich in B-vitamins, proteins, antioxidants, polyunsaturated fatty acids, etc. during middle-age years helps improve cognitive function later in life.
Similarly, an unhealthy diet including foods rich in high fructose and low omega-3 fatty acids contribute to lower cognition.
Solution? Include foods like salmon, wholegrain breads, kale, tomatoes, nuts, blueberries, cumin and pumpkin seeds in your diet to have people calling you “Einstein.” In a non-ironic way.
3. Can’t Remember Names And Birthdays? Get Movin’, Lazybones!
Physical activity helps increase the blood flow throughout the body (including the brain). This improves memory and neural efficiency. According to a Harvard Health Publications article, people who indulge in regular workouts and exercise have a better chance of staying mentally sharp in their 70s and 80s. Exercise increases the level of neurotrophins, proteins that are responsible for the growth and protection of brain cells against trauma.
Dislike going to the gym? Opt for other ways to keep fit like jogging, brisk walking or yoga. If you do it for your brain rather than your bod, you may be more likely to stay motivated.
4. Work Addiction Increases Risk of Dementia.
Your drive to climb up the professional ladder may have you so consumed in your work that you fail to see the health implications long working hours can have. Long working hours could be one of the risk factors that contribute to cognitive decline in middle age.
This study found that the difference between the cognitive abilities of employees working long hours and those working normal hours was similar in magnitude to that of smoking, a major risk factor for dementia.
Give yourself a cut-off time and tend to the other areas of life.
5. Substance Abuse Makes Your Brain Age Faster.
A lot has been already been said about the harmful impact alcohol and smoking can have on human health. Apart from facing an increased risk of health complications like cardiovascular diseases, cancers and lung diseases, chronic smokers and drinkers also experience a faster decline in brain function.
According to a research article published on UCL’s website, cognitive decline is 36% faster in people who exceed recommended limits of smoking and drinking. For every 10 years that heavy-drinking smokers age, their brains age 12 years. Such individuals are also more susceptible to neurobiological and functional brain injuries.
As you find yourself trying hard to keep up with your fast-paced life, take a moment to pause and ponder the result of your “all-nighters” and “quick bites” on your mental health.
We may dream of making big bucks, owning big cars and having big houses, but in the long run, the dream should be to have a big brain that can get you closer to your goals.
Hands up for all the whiz kids in the house!