I can’t think of another time in my life when I spent as much time with my butt in a chair. And no, I don’t follow every tick of the market.
Stress and anxiety, something familiar for traders, is significantly reduced via exertion through the body. There really is no downside to putting aside the time and effort to invest in your body’s fitness regime. Just as there is no downside to putting in the time and resources to invest in our trading system. In this post, I will discuss how we can keep our bodies thriving as traders so the mind can follow.
Start With Exercise
The first thing we can do is head into the trading day or schedule a break with a good sweat sesh. We know that exercise is imperative to optimal cognitive functioning, i.e., executing winning trades. Being able to sit patiently and wait for the right set-up doesn’t mean we have to sit with our butt in the chair all day. Actually, scheduling time for exercise will greatly enhance our chances of being successful!
On a cellular level, exercise improves insulin response and reduces inflammation. This, in turn, boosts flexibility, increases bone density, and makes you more resistant to injury or illness. One also feels generally happier through the release of endorphins. An increase in your self-esteem and confidence is also an excellent added benefit.
Aerobic Exercise Improves Learning
So what happens to your brain when you exercise? Aerobic exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in learning. I’m not sure about you, but as a trader, I am learning every day! Or at least that’s the goal. Aerobic exercise increases executive functions. These are the thinking skills that we use in our everyday lives, including our ability to regulate our behavior, pay attention, organize, and plan. In other words, this form of exercise is what helps us achieve our trading goals.
Weight training, while good for the body, does not give you the same results. I believe both are important, especially as we age, to maintain muscle mass, but for now, we’re focusing on the mind. All you really need are three days per week of a one-hour session to increase brain functioning. I tend to think more is better for people like us who sit most of the day, but this is something I can help you to determine based on your own needs and desires.
Our brains require more oxygen than any other organ in the body, and the best way to accomplish this is to get moving. In our quest to master the markets, we can’t overlook this fact. Something else I’ve noticed is that when I engage in aerobic activity, I am much more likely to meet my H2O requirements throughout the day. When you exercise, you are more aware of your need for water, of which the brain is 70%. In this current market environment, I’m going to go with 35% water, 35% beverage of choice.
There are many forms of exercise you can engage in. I personally have found running to be my preferred method. It can be done anywhere and at any time, and this fits perfectly into my lifestyle. If I need a day off, I will just do a power walk. This has worked out well as I actually find myself feeling just as refreshed, alert, and energized. Some of my best trading days are after a long, heart-pumping walk. Maybe this is because I am in a more relaxed state with a clear mind as I begin my trading routine for the day.
Have you tried incorporating Yoga into your routine? It is one of the best ways to engage the body, mind, spirit. Something I’m a big proponent of. But for me, it takes too much planning and time spent most days, and quite frankly, I have found that I can enter into a meditative state with a run or walk and find the experience much more enjoyable. But that is just me, and I’m kind of jealous of those who can find their “OM” on the mat.
Find A Routine That Works For You
The most important thing is to find something that works for you. What has worked for you, what gets you motivated and excited, or what would you like to change up in your life to put you in the best position before the opening bell?
If you have any specific questions regarding your lifestyle that you’d like for me to address, please leave them in the comments below (or send me an email : [email protected].
Beth Marconi is an experienced corporate consultant, personal lifestyle coach and member of the MARA team. As a Certified Nutritional Consultant, she ties health and wellness to trading successfully in the market.