Active traders in the financial markets around the world are increasingly suffering from cardio-vascular ailments and poor psychological health. We have seen frequent instances of high-income, successful traders suffering heart attacks and strokes at a young age of 35-40 years. Traders tend to lead sedentary lifestyles and work long hours; both of which are significant causes of a wide range of ailments. So, is trading as a profession hazardous to health?
It is as dangerous as any other demanding profession, like doctors, lawyers or bankers. Fitness is essential for success in every walk of life. Let’s take a look at the potential health risks that traders tend to face and how to tackle them.
Financial market volatility is a major cause of significant emotional and physical stress for traders and investors. Forex trading offers leverage opportunities, which work both ways – it can multiply your profits as well as wipe away entire accounts. Constantly dealing with market fluctuations and facing monetary losses can shock the body and put stress on the cardio-vascular system.
Traders often fall prey to bad habits like smoking and drinking, which are harmful to health. A sedentary life also leads to obesity and diabetes. These are all well-established facts that increase chances of coronary heart diseases. A study of the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) Composite Index in 2006 led to conclusive proof that stock volatility had been a major trigger for coronary heart diseases in participants of the Chinese stock markets.
Long working hours also contribute to heart ailments, particularly for people who have a history of cholesterol and high blood pressure, and this has been a leading cause of death in the US, ABC News quoted the American Heart Association as saying.
Stress affects the body in many ways. It can also create psychological health issues like depression, anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Correct decision making and quick trade executions are not possible if the mind and body are disturbed. Lack of sleep increases the levels of the primary stress-hormone, Cortisol, in our bodies, which leads to decreased immunity, kidney impairment and a suppressed digestive system.
Studies have proven that gut health is intrinsically linked to mental health. The result is depression, memory issues, concentration problems and headaches. Constantly being on the edge can lead to suicidal tendencies in some people. If you are always thinking about market conditions and feeling overstimulated, it means your body and mind are overwhelmed. Many traders feel exhausted quite often. It is necessary to take breaks every now and then to refresh the brain.
Trading is not a type of gambling, but there is a thin line between sound, high-frequency trading and addictive behaviour. Day traders are usually associated with sensation-seeking motives rather than instrumental ones. Increased automotive trading can often lead to increased risk-taking behaviour. This has become a psychological phenomenon, where traders face cognitive distortions like selective memory, impaired rationalisation and gambler fallacy, according to a study published on Science Direct.
With the advent of electronic trade systems, traders across the world can be in-tune with global market developments and execute trades in seconds, with just a click. However, constantly analysing charts and looking for price reversals takes a toll on the eyes. Blue light, emanating from computer screens and mobile devices, can affect eyesight and lead to problems like migraine and nausea. It leads to age-related macular degeneration in the long-run.
Dry eyes, fatigue, sore eyes and irritation are other symptoms of declining eye-health. Cataracts are also becoming highly prevalent among younger people.
Sitting in one place for long periods of time has proven to be a significant health concern in recent years. For starters, lower back pain and muscle strain occur frequently. It also paves the way for increased weight gain. Obesity singlehandedly attracts various diseases. Researchers have found a significant relationship between a sedentary lifestyle and certain types of cancer, such as lung, endometrial and colon cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
An alarming fact that came across from the report is that even people who are otherwise involved in intense physical workouts are still at risk if they spend long hours sitting.
The trading profession is stressful, and that stress alone can cause irreparable damage to the body and brain. The importance of stress-busting activities cannot be overemphasised here. Traders should engage in a 30-minute exercise routine every day to stay fit. This can include anything from a brisk walk to jogging or even strength training. Regular exercise keep our weight under control, releases endorphins in the body that help fight the negative effects of cortisol and increases blood circulation. Stress-relieving activities like meditation and yoga are also good for managing anxiety issues.
Alongside a good fitness regime, it is important to ensure a healthy diet and not skip on meals. No matter how tight the schedule is, a well-balanced diet is necessary to staying in top form.
All traders should make it a habit to take breaks on weekends, when the markets are closed. It is important to unwind and keep mental stability intact. Hobbies, and anything that falls outside the domain of the financial world, are a great way to de-stress. Weekends should be devoted to friends and families and other leisure activities.
Regular check-ups become necessary after the age of 45. This should be considered a crucial exercise, especially for those with a genetic pre-disposition towards certain illnesses. Proactive healthcare can save many lives and expensive treatments.
Even on the most hectic days, it is vital to take short breaks at regular intervals. This lowers eye-strain and gives the muscles a chance to stretch and get adequate blood supply. It is always wise to listen to the body. Optimal performance in trading won’t mean anything if major illnesses gain control of you in the long-run.