I’ve always believed that a healthy mind is a key success factor in running and growing a business and that there is huge overlap between sports and business. Entrepreneurs are the top athletes of the business world. With the same passion, the same ability to postpone gratification, with the same ability to focus and suffer when needed.
When you listen to sports coaches, they talk exactly the same language as managers, but in a different context and with more focus on results and more of the fluff removed in sports. I once heard Ray Colgan of Ulster Bank speak about the Dublin Gaelic football team. Key metrics? Tackle count and training hours. Simple as that.
Recently I was at an event where sports initiatives and concept were pitching. Two companies talked about measurement of sleeping patterns, food intake and training effort for athletes. Imagine doing the same for entrepreneurs. Ensuring a healthy mind in a healthy body and a key contributor to business success.
Our clients are also always looking for ways to engage with their staff and ensure that they are happy. Maybe it should become more holistic and include all aspects of life, including sleeping and that goes beyond “Employee first, customer second” or “The great workplace” and would suggest a more holistic approach.
Which brings me to the book, Move, Eat, Sleep by Tom Rath. Tom has a genetic disorder, which means he is very susceptible to cancer, so he needs to watch what he is doing and eating all the time. In this book he shares his experiences, the research and his observations. It’s absolutely fascinating.
The title says it all. You need to sleep well and it is the most important lesson. Not sleeping well kills. You need to eat properly. Sugar kills. Carbohydrates kill. Movement is key. Not just exercise. You need very regular movement during the day. Sitting kills. Watching TV kills.
Here are some of the stats included in the book:
- 90% of people are killed by diseases that are avoidable (heart and lung disease, cancer, diabetes).
- If you spend most of your time sitting down you increase your risk of death by these diseases by 50%.
- Sitting kills more people than smoking.
- Sugar kills more people than heroin, cocaine or other controlled substance (he predicts that in 10-15 years we will be suing the sugar companies the way we sued the cigarette companies).
- Intake of fruit and vegetable is a predictor of happiness.
- Carbs are more addictive than cocaine.
- Fewer carbs curbs cancer rates by 50%.
- Lack of sleep costs the economy 63 billion a year.
- Four hours of sleep loss produces as much impairment as a six-pack of beer.
- Eating processed food regularly increases your risk of pancreatic cancer by 21%.
- Daily red meat increases your risk of death by 20%.
- Chronic sleep impairment ages you by four to seven years.
- Regular activity increases the size of your brain.
- More than four hours TV per day increases your cause of death by 48%.
- One hour of TV costs 22 minutes of your live.
- Fruit drinks are worse then soda.
- If you commute more then 45 minutes you are 40% more likely to divorce.
The book does make a few reference to the marketers and how we are being manipulated and fooled by the words they use, the ingredients they put into food to make us all addicts.
The book also contains some tips:
- Pick fruits and vegetables with dark and vibrant colours.
- White is bad (rice, bread, potato).
- Aim for 10,000 steps per day.
- Omega 3 is good for your brain. Low levels of Omega3 shrink the brain.
- Activity slows aging.
- Eat apples, artichokes, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, green tea, kale, lemons, mushrooms, raspberries, red grapes, red wine, salmon, strawberries, and tomatoes.
- Also consider eating ingredients commonly used for flavour that have cancer-fighting potential, such as cinnamon, garlic, nutmeg, parsley, and turmeric.
- Foods likely to increase the health and thickness of hair include blueberries, salmon, spinach, and walnuts
- Research has shown that a variety of berries, blueberries and strawberries in particular, serve as a “natural housekeeper” for your health.
- Broccoli is the new black. Emerging science suggests that consuming broccoli can alter the way your genes are expressed, thus playing a powerful role in preventing everything from cancer to heart disease.
- Just one serving of fatty fish per week was associated with a 44 percent reduction in risk of kidney cancer.
So if you move well, sleep well, don’t watch TV and eat broccoli and berries, you live to be at least 90. And you’ll be more successful and happy.