NTx Health Moment: Avoiding the Health Pitfalls of Executive Life
As a special new feature to NTx Trends this month, we welcome NTx member and Director of Business Development for Executive Medicine of Texas, Judy Gaman, for our #NTxHealthMoment
To the average person, you seem to have it all: the car, the house, the six or 7-figure job.
The truth is, if you don’t have your health, none of this matters. Executives lead a lifestyle that looks glamorous from the outside, but is very complex and demanding. Being on the inside, you understand the mental stress, long hours, heavy travel, and often loneliness. Being proactive is the best way to avoid the pitfalls and optimize your chances for a long and healthy life.
Traveling can lead to dehydration. Alcohol and caffeine only complicate matters, so on days you travel, be sure to forgo both and opt instead for water. While the usual equation for hydration is 0.5 x pounds=ounces, meaning your weight in pounds divided in half equals the number of ounces of water you need to drink per day, this is not adequate on travel days. Adding 8 ounces before take-off and 8 ounces upon landing will help keep you hydrated and your mind sharp. The human brain is 73 percent water, so dehydration leads to foggy brain and bad decisions. On the flip side, a well-hydrated brain is ready to tackle the tasks at hand.
Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep doesn’t just make you beautiful, it keeps you healthy. Sleep is when the body repairs itself. New research also shows that when we sleep our brain scrubs itself, ridding it of the debris that leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Getting at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep is adequate. Trouble sleeping? Avoid blue light that is emitted from cell phones, computers, and televisions at least 2 hours before calling it a night. Also, snoring can be a sign of a deadly condition called sleep apnea. If you snore, talk to your healthcare provider about having a sleep study. It’s not just about the hours you sleep, but the quality of your sleep.
You wouldn’t dare walk into a meeting unprepared. You know the vital statistics of your company as if your life depends on it. So, why is it that too many executives don’t know the numbers that relate to their health? Ironically, your life does depend on those numbers. Health is about being proactive. If you have been avoiding that physical examination, now is the time to put it on your priority list. Remember, most health issues are avoidable or fixable as long as they are found early. Be proactive.
Protect Your Gut Microbiome
You don’t have time to get sick. New research shows that 80 percent of your immune system is within your gut. Protecting your gut microbiome is easy, but takes some effort. Be sure to avoid artificial sweeteners, which kill off your good bacteria and excess sugar which feeds the bad bacteria. Instead, get your sweets from sources like fruit. If you’re not a fan of yogurt or its impractical to have it handy, be sure to take a good pharmaceutical grade probiotic. Protect and cultivate the good bacteria that protect you.