It might surprise you to hear that spending your time hunched over the trading screens could be doing damage to your health. Or maybe it’s not a surprise, but you’ve just never had the time to do anything about it. Either way, read on to find out 6 easy, simple and most importantly, quick ways to improve your health and make sure those long trading days don’t wreak too much havoc on your body.
Are you sitting comfortably?
First things first, think about how you sit when you’re trading. If you’re hunched up over a screen, slouching in your chair or putting pressure on one side of your body by sitting cross-legged, chances are you’re putting unnecessary strain on your back. A good way to tell if this is the case is if your back aches at the end of the day or you find yourself fidgeting in your chair a lot. Over time, this will affect your standing posture, and bad posture makes you look older, heavier and less confident – there’s no silver lining.
So invest in a good quality, comfortable trading chair with good support for your back. Go for an adjustable one so you can find a height that’s just right for you, and move your monitors around as well if you need to.
Silvermans Office Furniture have a great range of ergonomically designed (comfortable, basically) chairs. The one pictured above has a separate neck rest, floating lumbar support and adjustable arms – consider it your trading throne.
Look after your eyes
Hours spent staring at screens can be bad news for your eyes in two ways – first of all, the bright, close-up screens can strain your eye muscles, and secondly, watching screens tends to make us forget to blink, which causes your eyes to dry up.
To stop your trading days causing sore, blurry eyes, remember the 20:20:20 rule: for every 20 minutes of trading, look at an object 20 feet away from you and blink 20 times. Looking into the distance will help prevent your eye muscles from becoming too used to the close-up screen, while blinking releases tears to stop your eyes from drying out. If you’re still having trouble, try adjusting the brightness of your monitors and invest in some eye drops to help keep your eyes from drying out. Oh, and if you’re a contact lens wearer, your eyes will probably be extra dry – so try to wear glasses instead for at least some of your screen time.
Wake up and smell the coffee
If your stop losses are powered by an endless stream of coffee, your caffeine fixes might be doing you more harm than good. Don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to ditch the coffee completely (we’d be hypocrites if we did). Actually, there are potential health benefits to your morning pick-me-up, including increased attention and memory performance, decreased risk of heart disease and increased muscular recovery.
But like most things in life, it’s everything in moderation – drink too much coffee and the excess caffeine can cause anxiety, dehydration and withdrawal symptoms as well as keeping you awake at night, particularly if you drink coffee towards the end of your trading day. If you regularly drink more than 4 or 5 cups a day, try switching a cup or two for herbal tea or decaf coffee, and drink a few extra glasses of water to make sure you’re not dehydrated.
Keep calm and trade on
Stress is fast-overtaking back pain as the greatest health concern for those in desk jobs – and we all know the charts can be stressful at times. To make matters worse, stress is not always a simple issue to fix – for many, it’s part of the job. So we’re going to look to Warren Buffett, the most successful investor of the 20th century, to find out how to combat stress. He must have come up with a trick or two in the 50 years since he set up Berkshire Hathaway, surely?
Buffett’s top tip? Don’t say yes to everything. Saying no to things you know won’t be particularly useful or a good use of your time is not selfish, it’s essential if you want to have a good work-life balance (essential for reducing stress). The Oracle of Ohama even once took his grandchildren for ice cream while negotiating a $5 billion investment at the height of the financial crisis. The moral of that story? Life (and ice cream) comes first.
(Find out what else Warren Buffett has to say about trading and life in general here. Buffett’s other health tip is to eat like a six-year-old because they have the lowest mortality rate – so crisps, ice cream and Coca-Cola are staples. Frankly, the more we read about this guy, the more we like him.)
Get up and get moving
If you make one change to your trading schedule to benefit your health, make time for exercise. We could rattle off the 35287482756 wonderful things exercise does for your body, but we know you’ve heard them all before (and don’t have time to read them again).
So instead, we’ve found 7 ways to keep fit in your busy trading week. From virtual personal training to online and express workouts, they’re all things you can do whenever it suits you and your trading schedule (so there’s no excuse!) Plus, we’ve picked out some of the latest fitness trends around that’ll save you time and effort and make working out a bit more fun. Trainers at the ready…
Take a break
…Kit-Kat optional (but recommended). If you’re having a particularly stressful trading day, it can be tempting to stay at your desk over lunch, but this will exacerbate all of the potential health hazards listed above (and more). Forget religiously chart-watching, step away from the charts and move into a different room to eat your lunch and refocus your mind – you’ll probably trade better in the afternoon for it.
And as well as taking a proper break halfway through the day, take regular five-minute breaks to clear your head – schedule them into your phone if you have to. Looking away from your screens, even for five minutes, will reduce eyestrain; moving away from your desk will help prevent back pain; and time out will stop stress levels from creeping up. Yes, we just gave you an excuse to slack off every now and again. Use it wisely…
Naturally, we think the best way to fill your trading breaks is to catch up on what’s going on away from the charts in the latest Trader Lifestyle features. For gadgets and cool new tech, check out Littlefish Loves; for news and funny stories, you want Five Lessons Learnt This Week; and for the latest weird, hilarious or moving Youtube videos, head on over to Viral Videos of the Week.
Give us a shout over on Twitter at @LittlefishFX and @LFXKatie and share your tips!
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