Fitness for Traders
Rik Snuiverink looks at the importance of physical fitness for traders.
The modern world is bursting with opportunity for those with a spirit of entrepreneurial adventure. More of us are starting our businesses or finding those little side hustles to help pay the bills. The advantage is that we can do so with our laptops or even our smartphones in the comfort of our homes.
It comes, however, at a cost to our physical wellbeing. In the online world, physical location becomes irrelevant, so it is easy to go from one day to the next without leaving our homes or even getting adequately dressed. The world wide web also has no interest in what time of day it is, it is the virtual city that never sleeps, and those who inhabit it can find themselves dragged into a world where day and night lose meaning.
Forex trading - the prime example
Not so long ago, Forex trading was seen as a specialist activity carried out by the city slickers – a world full of hidden indicators and secret signals, where millions could be made or lost in a single trade. As it has done with so many other things, the internet age has stripped away the mystique and provided us with numerous tools, tutorials, etc. Understanding fundamental Forex market analysis lies within anyone's reach.
Trading is still complex, and it takes time, effort, and dedication to make a success of it. The danger is that this is a discipline where it is only too easy to lose all interest in your physical health in that desperate bid to be a successful trader.
With hundreds of currencies across the globe, the Forex market can appear to have no beginning or end. It is just a constant sea of currency pairs traded, bought, sold. It is all too easy for the amateur trader to get washed away with the ability to trade from a smartphone app.
The importance of physical fitness
One of the most common injuries in sports is a sprained ankle. An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments around the ankle are stretched past their limit, which creates tears. It can happen when the ankle rolls, and it is common in softball and baseball after sliding into a base.
The human body loves routine. It operates according to circadian rhythms or cycles that are entirely at odds with the non-stop 24/7 nature of the Forex trading market. Mess with those cycles, and the consequences can be severe. Aching muscles, tiredness, and headaches are bad enough in and of themselves. But when they are accompanied by increased feelings of distraction, anxiety, and even depression, it does not take a genius to see that your trading activity is sure to be affected too.
Trading can be a highly stressful and emotional business. We have all seen the Wall Street style movies where the slick trader is reduced to a sweaty, dishevelled mess after a trade goes south. But frankly, that is what trading is all about. Some trades go well, and others do not. The trick is to remain in control and ride the lows to enjoy the highs. That is 100 times easier to achieve if you are in physical fitness.
Listen to your body
Here are some of the typical symptoms experienced by traders. Do any of them sound familiar to you?
You are constantly exhausted
You might feel that antisocial hours and stressful trades are just part of the territory as a Forex trader. However, if you feel constantly exhausted, your body tells you it is fatigued and needs time to re-energise. Exhaustion leads to additional complicating symptoms, including headaches, moodiness, and inability to concentrate. You cannot operate like that, so take some time completely away from the trading platform to relax and recharge.
You are putting on weight
Weight gain means you take on more calories than you are burning off, we all know that. But while the usual advice of "eat less exercise more" holds, there could be more to it. If the weight gain is sudden, it is worth thinking whether there were any specific triggers, either physical or mental, that might have caused it. Weight gain can sometimes be linked with other symptoms, such as lack of sleep or stress.
You are having trouble sleeping
The British Sleep Society tells us that insomnia typically stems from either psychological conditions, bad sleeping habits, or specific substances like caffeine or alcohol. For the average Forex trader, it is almost always down to those irregular hours and overstimulating the brain when it needs to be winding down and relaxing.
Set a routine
What at first sounded like an almost insoluble problem comes down to one simple thing: routine. With any remote working gig, you need to be strict with yourself to delineate between work time, family time, and your time. In the non-stop hurly-burly of Forex, it is all the more important. Set your trading hours following your local Forex market and stick to them. The effect will be to retake control of your life.
Ultimately, if you get the balance right, it means a healthier you, happier life, and a more successful and profitable trading career.
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About the Author
Rik Snuiverink is a freelance writer.