By Tony Olejnicki | Creator of HiACHIEVR Program
The GOOGLE search for “how to Improve Brain Efficiency”, will offer the advice from Wellness Gurus on motivation, brain diet, ketogenic diet, short naps, exercises, mindfulness, building strong connections and many more. These are all great snippets of advice. However for an average office worker busy and stressed with competitiveness, shortage of time and financial resources they are difficult and unrealistic to implement.
All these advises are too generic, too complex in detail and require a serious time commitment for any sensible person being able to implement any of them, even in a short form or express version.
Ask yourself this question:
Has any quick motivational program, hyped up exercise styles or trendy diet worked for you in a long term?
Most of the businesses implement office productivity tools and automation (digital transformation), protecting stressed employees from customer interface and shifting stress on customers instead. Alternatively, businesses outsource the workforce abroad, often forgetting that a customer is a key to the profit bottom line. These will make a business more profitable in a short-term, however, will make no one younger, smarter or healthier. As an example, consider banks, telecommunication businesses, and utilities just to mention some.
Imagine now, if you could improve your Cognitive Availability (Brain Efficiency) in a simple way and complete your work in half of the time available?
There are companies which do exactly that. They collaborate with employees for a win-win wellness and productivity proposition and improve profits with shorter working hours.
How do they do it?
Is this some other wellness gimmick for a psychological motivational feel-good-training?
Brain Efficiency and Productivity
The Office Worker Productivity is closely coupled with the Brain Efficiency or Cognitive Availability, regardless of whether you are doing repetitive or creative and inventive work. The human brain works at its best in the Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) mode, which makes a perfect sense considering 300,000 years of human evolution.
NEAT is a state of continuous non-repetitive mobility at low effort level, where the body system uses fat as the fuel (Thermogenesis) to generate energy. In this state, the brain generates complex and diverse neural activity to the muscles as it keeps the body balanced in the upright position. It also monitors feedback from proprioception sensors. The heart beats at a slightly elevated level delivering an increased Oxygen level. This, in turn, energizes the brain and supporting cognitive functions. The brain is the heaviest user of Oxygen out of all human organs. It consumes as much as 25% of total Oxygen despite its comparatively small weight of about 2% of the total body weight.
Guess what happens when you sit down and stay sedentary in the chair focusing on your computer work?
It takes about 30 minutes for the body to sustain the Brain at its full cognitive availability before it settles to the resting state. The heart slows down delivering less oxygen to the brain so the brain enters a resting mode which also limits the cognition.
After one hour of a motionless sitting the Brain Cognitive Availability diminishes to a level equivalent to the sleeping condition. If you have not dosed off, you will be prompted by the brain activity to a movement with a strong pain signal in your back, shoulders, neck or maybe a cramp of your leg muscles.
As soon as you stretched your legs and took a walk to the coffee machine your brain resets to its full cognitive capacity for another 30 minutes and the Brain cognitive cycle repeats. Typically most of the sedentary office workers would repeat this cycle 6 times in a day. As a result, this offers a full cognitive engagement for about 3 hours per working day. The remaining 5 hours of the working day blend into a low Brain cognitive mode without most people realizing it.
Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions:
- What have I done today?
- Have you ever arrived to work by a car not remembering details of your journey?
- Why am I behind the schedule despite working so many hours?
Have you ever wonder why many people look older than their chronological age?
Often it is due to genetics. For most people, however, genes by themselves determine predisposition only. The condition such as a ‘speed of aging’ must be triggered by environmental factors.
In the past, we thought about aging as a static process determined by the chronological age. Since science fully explored the role of stem cells, we understand that aging is controlled by the physiological age.
The stem cells abundant and active in children and young adults diminish with age, however, they do not disappear but remain dormant until activated and can be stimulated and rebuild any organ to its original state.
In the eighties, scientists participated in BIOSPHERE2 noticed by coincident that caloric restriction diet leads to organ regeneration. In other words, the hunger causes the body to use protein as a fuel and at the same time, it stimulates a stem cell regeneration when the supporting environment becomes available.
Take the muscles for example. You can rejuvenate them through an intensive exercise and nutrition as athletes and bodybuilders do. For most healthy people it can be done to most of the body organs up to 50. However, for people with a lifelong commitment, it can be done beyond 50.
Most generally healthy individuals above 30 are physiologically 5-20 years older than their chronological age due to their sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition. The amazing thing about physiological age is that it can be lowered. NEAT with appropriate nutrition and daily exercise will lower your physiological age.
It is worth it and achievable for most people to engage in the HiACHIEVR process. It is very rewarding to retire at 65 having a body equivalent to 55 rather than 85.
50 is a pivotal age and most people have the opportunity to peak at 50 as a combination of financial status and physiological endurance and be ready to ‘climb’ their ‘Life's Everest’.
The alternative for the sedentary population is developing a sedentary condition. Half of the population over 50, in developed countries, will contract one or more, a totally preventable, sedentary condition such as diabetes, sedentary lifestyle cancers, hypertension, stroke, dementia just to mention few.
Brain stem cells also exist in adult bodies and can be stimulated to replace damaged neurons.
Similarly to nutritional deprivation stimulating muscle tissue rejuvenation, reducing oxygen concentration stimulates stem cell production in the brain and brain cell rejuvenation, neurogenesis.
For the last 5 years, I have observed such an effect with my clients participating in our high altitude adventures, including myself.
My original explanation stemmed from high altitude exercise physiology. I linked it to increased production of red blood cells to deliver a sufficient amount of oxygen at the high altitude. The observable effect of improved cognition and energy lasts a couple of months after returning from high altitude but the studies indicate even more long-term benefits.
The NEAT system employed in the HiACHIEVR Program helps to improve cognition through consistent increased blood flow to the brain rather than Oxygen deprivation in the low Oxygen environment. The HiACHIEVR program also offers a high altitude extension for all participants who successfully completed the HiACHIEVR program.
The HiACHIEVR Program protocols, based on personal experience in high altitude training and the latest neurological research, lead not only to physical improvement but also improve the cognition.
Tony Olejnicki – an engineer, motivator and exercise physiologist specializing in high altitude training is the creator of the HiACHIEVR Program, an inspirational program helping professional working in an office environment to improve productivity and life quality by lowering physiological age, improving cognition and optimizing personal health.