Are you old enough to remember the shows “The Bionic Woman” and “The 6 Million Dollar Man?” Maybe you’ve seen them in reruns. They were about two people who had been in terrible accidents and were near death, when the government stepped in and rebuilt them.
But the government didn’t just rebuild them, they completely optimized their bodies, giving them extra strength and abilities. They could see farther, run faster and jump higher. This helped them to solve crimes and put the bad guys away.
While we may never be able to jump 10 stories in a single leap or clearly see the license plate number on a car a mile away, we can optimize our health, so we feel like superheroes in our own lives.
What is BioHacking?
Biohacking is a way for all of us to upgrade our bodies and health. First made famous by Tim Ferris (“The 4-Hour Body”), biohacking focuses on taking ownership of your health, not relying on others to “fix” you.
Whether it’s your fitness level, your immune system, gut health or mood, biohacking allows you to tailor health solutions that are just right for YOU. There are a couple of keys to successful biohacking:
1) Pay attention to your body and any changes you notice. Keeping a biohacking journal can be a big help. Record everything you can think of including what and how much you eat and drink, any exercise you get, nightly sleep habits, etc… Do this for 1-2 weeks so you have a baseline to work off of.
2) Focus on making small adjustments to your health. And again, track any changes you notice once you’ve made these small adjustments.
Whatever strategies you employ during your biohacking journey, keep at them for at least two weeks to give them a fair shot. Keep what is working for you and throw out what doesn’t work. Rinse and repeat.
5 Biohacking Tips to Get You Started
Now that you know what biohacking is, let’s look at some simple ways you can begin biohacking your own health.
1. Connect to Mother Earth
Have you heard of Earthing? It is a practice that involves walking barefoot for 20 minutes each day. Yes, even during winter. This is a way for all of us to connect with the natural electrical charges produced by the Earth.
Now you may be thinking this sounds a bit… woo-woo and airy-fairy. But there has been actual research that suggests direct contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth may promote beneficial health outcomes including better sleep, enhanced wound healing, reduced pain and improved immune response.
2. Try Blacking Out
No, I’m not suggesting drinking too many Mai Tais and forgetting you danced on the table. I’m actually suggesting you turn your bedroom into a kind of sleep cave, devoid of any and all light.
Our bodies need total darkness to get the benefits of sleep. It is during sleep that our bodies repair themselves, consolidate memories and flush out toxins associated with neurodegeneration. But when our sleep is interrupted, or just not all that great, we don’t get these benefits and we can’t perform optimally.
Our bodies’ circadian rhythm, or biological time clock, can be easily thrown off if there is even a little bit of light coming into our room from a streetlamp, TV, hallway light etc. Consider investing in some blackout curtains and unplug any electronics before bed that emit LEDs. Also, do not engage with any electronic devices yourself two hours before bedtime. The blue lights emitted from these machines has been shown to disrupt sleep.
3. Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the most powerful biohacks you can try. In fact, if you only try one from this list, let it be this one.
We all fast every day while we sleep, which is why breakfast is called break-fast, because you are breaking your fast. The easiest way to practice intermittent fasting is to simply extend your nighttime fast so you do not eat for 16 hours and then have an 8-hour window in which you can eat. So, you may have your last meal at 6pm, and then have your first meal the next day at 10AM. You would then eat between the hours of 10AM and 6PM. See, very easy.
Now you may be asking what are the benefits of intermittent fasting? There are many, but to name a few:
· Weight loss
· Balance blood sugar
· Reduce inflammation
· Reduce risk of developing chronic diseases
The power behind intermittent fasting is autophagy. Autophagy is the body’s natural response to perceived starvation. When food is restricted, the body begins to scavenger hunt for protein around the body. No, it does not attack your muscles. Instead, it picks up junk from around the body like waste, dead or suspicious-looking (cancerous) cells and growths. The result is enhanced cellular energy, resistance to aging and disease.
4. Stand More
How many hours a day would you say you spend sitting? 8? 10? 12? If you’re like most people, you sit far more than you stand. Between sitting in our cars, sitting at work, and sitting in front of the boob tube, we sit far more than just about anything else.
Why is this a bad thing?
Because many health experts are now calling sitting the new smoking. Yes, sitting is THAT bad for you. Extended periods of sitting have been linked to chronic disease and increased mortality.
If you find that you sit most of the time at work, try standing more. A great and easy way to do this is to use a standing desk. You can get a high-end version that is actually a treadmill. Of course, this will only work for those with a healthy budget who work from home. But there are affordable standing desks that sell for as little as $100. Be sure to stand on an anti-fatigue mat and alternate between standing and sitting every 45 minutes to one hour.
If standing simply isn’t an option where you work, stop what you’re doing and walk around every 30 minutes to keep your joints loose and your blood flowing.
Meditation used to be that thing only shamans and new age-y people did. But meditation has gone mainstream and is practiced by over 18 million people in the United States alone.
Used for thousands of years by varying cultures around the world, meditation has been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep, and enhance productivity and creativity. And these are not imagined benefits. Studies have shown actual, physical changes in the brain happen after as little as 8 weeks of meditation.
And the best part is, you don’t have to sit and meditate for hours every day, 10-20 minutes can calm your nervous system and slow your heart rate.