Being in the Business of Brainpower…

Rocket Science

By Anne Laing & Tim Bean –

Back in the early days of the fitness industry we used to say “Staying in shape is simple – shut your mouth and move your legs. This isn’t rocket science.”

But hold on: this really is rocket science, as human beings are made up of incredibly complex systems, of which we are only just scratching the surface of understanding. We have systems in the body that need to be functioning optimally, as well as our mental and emotional well-being.

At ground level you have to know and apply the basics in order to prevent, what we call The Three Corporate Career Killers: ‘bail-out’, ‘burn-out’ or being ‘booted out’ from work – or even family.

The good news is that rocket science isn’t difficult for a rocket scientist. Flying a jumbo jet isn’t difficult for a jumbo jet pilot. And being a human being shouldn’t be difficult for a human being. You just have to learn how to do it and, when there is a genuine desire to take control of managing your body, it all becomes easier.

In the quest for a healthy body, one of the most overlooked areas is the brain. Studies suggest we start to lose our edge around the age of 40 when the brain shows signs of slowing. Many will experience some symptoms of mental deterioration, such as impaired concentration, short-term memory loss and difficulties learning new information.

The delicate balance of neurotransmitter production in the brain can be altered by hormone imbalances, chemical pollutants, medications or the choices we make regarding what we eat and drink.

Whenever you drink too much alcohol, or skip a nutrient-dense meal, or only ever eat starchy beige or white foods, you are not only depleting your body, but also starving your brain. It can take just a short time to see some of the effects: irritability, forgetfulness or food cravings. After many years this eventually leads to the formation of brain cell plaques and dementia.

A normal brain processes a thought at roughly one third of a second and the difference between a sharp functioning mind and senility is only a matter of milliseconds. Your brain speed is based on how quickly these electrical signals are processed. This rate is your real brain age, which can be quite different from your chronological age.

You can help safeguard against dementia, depression and other brain disorders.

How?

A healthy brain begins with a diet rich in high quality foods, low in processed grains and sugars, and your own on-going thirst for knowledge. Studies are now linking a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and brain shrinkage to those who eat a low-processed, high-plant and lean-protein diet.

This goes hand-in-hand with a suite of habits to help routine and planning. The power of eight is a good start.

8 coloured vegetables a day

8-inch plate

8 glasses of pure clean water

8 hours sleep a night, and

8,000 footsteps a day

Also:

– Avoid artificial sweeteners and MSG flavour enhancers found in many different food preparations that cause excito-toxicity within the brain.

– Add detoxifying greens such as Chlorella, Spirulina and green smoothies to detox heavy metals that affect the brain.

– Sleep. Get your 8 hours. Your brain builds up toxic waste during a busy working day. It needs restorative sleep to clean up and defrag.

– Take regular exercise. This produces greater blood flow to the brain and strengthens brain cell connections, protecting them from damage.

– Know your numbers. Keep your blood pressure, blood sugar and homocysteine in check. Balance waning hormones with bio-identical help from an anti-ageing specialist.

– Be social and connected, sure, but take time to disconnect and relax.

– Take up a hobby that challenges your brain.

– Never stop learning – go for mentally stimulating jobs that keep you challenged.

– Immerse yourself in another culture -new languages are a start. Russian, Arabic or Mandarin are the most difficult if you want to be really challenged.

– Get out of your comfort zone – challenge your business brain and seek out tough assignments. Take up public speaking!

– Manage stress – Seek out laughter and a yoga class…or the other way around (!)

What’s the link for business?

Like disease, stress manifests itself in a weakened body first and, regardless of the industry you are in, your business essentially runs on brainpower, so there’s tremendous value in protecting and preserving, what we call, your “Cerebral Capital”™. The mental capacity and function of key talent within your organisation is possibly the most valuable asset your business has.

You won’t find this on any balance sheet, yet the cost if something goes wrong – to the business, its customers and to families – is enormous. Incalculable even.

What is good for the body is always good for the brain!

There’s more information, discussion and strategic action points in our latest book “The Wealthy Body in Business” out now. Order your copy HERE

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So Who’s Going to Mind the Shop..?

By Tim Bean –

The problem of ‘Succession Planning’ is one faced by many small and family-sized businesses – but larger companies and corporations are not immune.  In fact the bigger the business, the darker the storm that looms on the horizon, threatening even the most successful firms.

As I explain below, there is a solution that may help…

PS: Has stress affected you negatively recently? To find out how you can deal better with stress, fire up energy, boost resilience and build recovery, check out our new book “The Wealthy Body in Business (Bloomsbury, London) due out April 6th!

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Running Around in Circles? What Rats Can Teach Us About Stress…

Wow – at a recent medical conference I was speaking at in Taiwan, a fascinating study came to light you really have to hear about. To save time, here’s the Executive Summary and our own conclusions:

Has stress affected you negatively recently? To find out how you can deal better with stress, fire up energy, boost resilience and build recovery, check out our new book The Wealthy Body in Business (Bloomsbury, London) due out April 6th!

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Sleep: What’s All the Fuss About..?

Feet in Bed By Anne Laing –

We know that sleep deprivation affects concentration and reaction time, but did you also know that your memory is affected, your emotions go haywire, and levels of your fat-regulating hormone leptin decrease whilst increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin?

Another of the less-well-known problems associated with lack of sleep is the inhibition of the immune system to perform a plethora of vital clean-up and regenerative functions at night. This nocturnal activity is absolutely necessary for a healthy brain and body in daily life.

When this capacity is limited, the negative side-effects become more pronounced, especially when people are already sick, have hormonal imbalances or are not generally healthy due to lifestyle choices.  They will not heal as fast, they’ll feel foggy-headed, and become susceptible to new illnesses and reoccurring relapses.  It now becomes much harder for the body to defend against internal foreign invaders and external toxins.

In the lab, seriously sleep-deprived animals actually die, as their immune systems fail to cope and shut down. “If humans endure a total lack of sleep for more than 10 days – they die too” says Professor Dr Jason Ellis, head of the International Sleep Research Facility at Northumberland University.

Chronic lack of sleep has a profound effect on your entire physiological system, from your furthest toe to the centre of your brain. So here are three things you can do from tonight to ensure you get a better night’s sleep:

  1. Turn all lights off, and devices that emit light. You can sense sources of light through your eyelids, so make your room as close to pitch black as possible. Light signals your brain that it’s time to wake up and starts preparing your body for ACTION. Also avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on your body to be suddenly jolted awake. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, an alarm may even be unnecessary.
  2. Often a deficiency of magnesium is related to poor sleeping patterns and irritability, and therefore magnesium supplements can be useful for correcting this.  Taurateas Magnesium reduces physical tension, and Taurate calms the chemical responses of the nervous system.  5-HTP (5-HydroxyTryptoPhan) can also be helpful to take at night immediately before bed.  Turkey meat contains Tryptophan, which is why it often makes you feel drowsy after eating it.  Put about a cup of Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) in your bath.
  3. If sleep disruption is constant, or your energy crashes during the day without reason, have your hormones checked by a specialist anti-ageing doctor.

All set? Right, now go clean your teeth and get to bed..!

Ageing Well is a Balancing Act…

By Tim Bean and Anne Laing –

Our sense of balance is amazing, but we don’t really give it much thought! If we stumble forward we instinctively arch back to keep from falling, and if we start leaning too far to the side, we automatically do a little side-step to correct our position. It is finely programmed to keep us upright whatever our situation. It is also instrumental in turning back your age clock.

Picture both ends of the ageing spectrum: Children have wonderful balance, as they are always challenging it in their play activities doing handstands, skateboarding, walking along the top edge of a low wall, and so on. Now observe those same children seventy years later: the gait is slow with small shuffling steps. There is a fear that they will fall or get knocked over and, instead of balancing on the kerb edge, it becomes a major challenge just to step over it.

This is not an inevitable part of ageing!

Test yourself on these Age Balance Tests regularly.

Balance Training Activity #1: “The Stork”
Standing on one leg, raise your other leg with the knee bent, until the thigh is parallel to the ground. Now close your eyes, and see if you can maintain your balance for 30 seconds. Do the same for the other leg.
Can’t do it? Start by practicing twice daily with your eyes open at first – eight to 10 attempts if need be – until you can do it successfully.
Next, do the exercise with your eyes closed, forcing your body to depend on the vestibular and proprioceptive systems (explained below).

Balance Training Activity #2: “The Clock”
It is often side, or lateral movements, where injuries occur most frequently – when slipping sideways on ice, or when water-skiing or snow-skiing for example. If you have difficulty performing the following step patterns, stand balanced on one leg, and simply point the other leg out toward each clock position without landing.

Method: Envision yourself standing in the middle of a clock face, with 12 o’clock directly in front of you. Take one lunging step with your right foot out toward 12, put your foot down and hold the lunge position. Retreat, and then take a similar step slightly to the right toward 1:30, then far to the right at 3:00, then step back onto 4:30 and 6:00. Do the same with your left foot working anti-clockwise from the 12 O’clock position through to 6 as well.

Knowing just where you stand…
Our body controls our balance from three systems.
Vision – extremely important for our balance. Our “Stork” age test seems easy when your eyes are open and you are mainly visually oriented, but by closing them you have to rely on the next two internal sensory systems for stability.
Vestibular system (located in the ear) – Tiny receptors in the inner ear message directly to the brain to control our balance. You just have to experience dizziness or Miniere’s disease to know the impact this has on our ability to simply remain upright.
Proprioception – the network of receptors reporting to the brain from the muscles, joints and the skin throughout the body via our nervous and bio-feedback systems.

You can certainly tell if these are not working. Try dialling the telephone after your arm has gone to sleep in an uncomfortable position!

Although taken for granted these systems operate constantly for you, even in sleep. To be at their sharpest and to work longer they need super-nutrition and the right exercise.

As we get older and more sedentary the receptors become less sensitive and speed, agility and co-ordination wanes. If we do less and less they become weaker and weaker, and like most aspects of our physiques, if we don’t use it we lose it.

One of the saddest consequences of failing balance, aside from the act of falling itself, is the fear of falling, and the impact that has on confidence, choice of activities, and quality of life.

The Good News!
Muscle weakness has a huge effect on our balance and our functional daily tasks because our balancing reflexes can’t work effectively unless our muscles are strong and the joints are supple enough to respond.

Just getting dressed is a great everyday example, as simply putting on your trousers while standing involves many muscle groups such as your ankles, thigh, back and buttocks. Also involved in this task is flexibility, coordination and proprioception. Next time you begin to shimmy into a pair of jeans, don’t let yourself off by sitting down to pull them up! This pathway towards that of a tottery senior is not one we all need to inevitably go down! Don’t accept it – avoid it.

Exercise classes, such as circuit training, step, or outdoor military-type fitness sessions, help significantly as they keep muscles in good condition at any age. By constantly strengthening muscle tissue, all the supply and support structures to those areas are invigorated as well. Also include yoga and any of your favourite sporting activities, just as long as they keep challenging your body with many different positions, movements and actions. Want to really push the boat out there? Try a few golf or tennis swings with your off-side and see how challenging that is…!

Keeping your balancing sensors sharp can be maximised by paying attention to good nutrition. Keep your weight, medication, alcohol and blood sugar in check. Sugar is one of the few chemicals that can corrode the enamel on your teeth, so you can imagine the corrosive effect it will have on those delicate sensory receptors within and throughout your body.

Carrying excess weight will also alter your posture, weight distribution, and thus your balance too. Try and maintain your waist circumference to less than 38 inches for men, and 30 inches for women.* Research has shown that waist measurements in excess of these benchmarks, can increase your risk of dementia by as much as 300%, and thus your brains ability to function effectively…!

Always start prevention early!

[*If you need to trim up a little, or have been struggling with your weight, check out our exciting new 12-week weight-management plan here.  Here’s what most people don’t realise… or don’t want to admit.  Despite all the progress in the world, our bodies still operate in the exact same manner they did more than 50,000 years ago!  There is no technology or pharmaceutical “wonder drug” that can change the way our bodies process food and function around activity.  Period.

As you progress through this 12-week course, you will cut through the fluff and discover the real science behind effective weight management, health maintenance and optimal ageing!  Click here to find out more…]

 

Keeping Your Smarts…

By Anne Laing:

Brain Neurons Firing

It is well known that people who do not feel good about themselves do not perform well.

So what will really boost your brainpower, and what will make you lose your mind?

We are currently in Singapore and Hong Kong at the moment where is it still normal for the indigenous people to eat small meals regularly throughout the working day, and rarely consume any less than six to seven vegetables a day. The rates of obesity here are low and they suffer considerably less incidences of heart disease, cancer, diabetes or dementia.

Many of the diet charts we see from western cultures have only one to two coloured vegetables a day, and often consumed in just one meal. Their food balance is made up of a variation of refined grains, oils, sugar, salt, caffeine, dairy and chemicals – those all too familiar culprits that are NO better for the brain than they are for the body.

Rats fed diets high in saturated fat and sugar under-performed on tests of learning and memory, and humans who live on such diets lacking essential nutrients have a decreased rate of energy and concentration – and an increase in stress, mood disorders and dementia.

Solution:

A large variety of coloured vegetables and some fruits are brain super-foods. It doesn’t have to be the latest fad food, just foods that look like they have been grown on a farm.

These are high in antioxidants, which counteract atoms that damage brain cells.  They also keep your body free from acute illness and disease. Researchers have found that high-antioxidant diets keep learning ability and memory sharp in aging rats and even reduce brain damage caused by strokes and diabetes.

Exercise is number two in importance to improve the brain’s functions (planning, organizing, multitasking, and more). Exercise is also well known for its mood-boosting effects, and people who exercise are far less likely to get memory loss and confusion as they age. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which also increases the delivery of oxygen, fuel and nutrients to neurons.

Research has shown that exercise increases the levels of a substance called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which encourages growth, communication and extends the survival rates of neurons.

To prevent burnout, operate at top performance, have better focus and more energy, it is worth ‘making the time’ to get this right!