Let’s start at the beginning, what on earth is ‘biohacking’? Here are tips to biohack your health!
It might sound super high-tech but in reality, biohacking is rather simple. As Dr Meagan Walker puts it, “biohacking refers to the incorporation of small consistent changes that change the performance of the human body or mind in measurable ways1”.
In a nutshell, biohacking is a buzzword for easy tricks that can improve your energy and your mental performance.
Keen to give it a try?
Here’s 15 ways to start biohacking your health today!
- Breathing: this isn’t just referring to the actual act of breathing (we should all be doing that!), but rather the focus and attention we put on our breath every day. The relationship between breathing and performance is massive and certainly a biohack many of us could be tapping into more. For better sleep – focus on deep breathing to relax your body. To start your day – focus on your breath to focus your mind. Taking just a few minutes each day to concentrate on your breathing can help with multiple aspect of your life.
- Box away stress: likely not the type of boxing that immediately jumps to mind! Box breathing is an easy, effective breathing technique that can move you from a stressed, ‘fight or flight’ state, to a calmer place in a matter of moments. Simply inhale to a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, exhale to a count of 5 and hold for a count of 5. Repeat the steps until your heart rate slows down.
- End your shower on a cold rise: it might seem crazy in the colder months, but if you can withstand the chill, this biohack may just reward you with increased energy, better focus and improved immune health.
- Take an ice bath: if the thought of a cold rise seems bearable, why not take it a step further and reap the benefits of an ice-cold bath! Taking a cold plunge may increase your metabolic rate by as much as 350% and it doesn’t stop there. It’s also been shown to boost dopamine and norepinephrine, both of which effect motivation2.
- Practice earthing: this practice involves walking barefoot outside for 20 minutes each day. It may sound strange but research suggests that it can promote physiological benefits including better sleep, reduced pain, and even prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases3.
- Go darker for better sleep: total darkness has been shown to impact the body’s biological clock that regulates our sleep and wake cycles. Ways to make your room darker include investing in blackout shades or curtains, installing low-wattage light bulbs and unplugging electronics.
- Blueblocking: and while we’re on the topic of electronics – steer clear of them for at least 1 hour before bedtime! The blue light they emit has been shown to disrupt sleep.
- Get standing: it may sound fairly obvious but it’s something that plenty of us don’t do enough of! Too much time spent sitting (at our desks, in the car, on the couch) takes its toll on the body and has been strongly linked with chronic disease and increased mortality3. Try alternating between standing and sitting, ideally every hour.
- Step it up: 1 hour of exercise each day (no matter how hard you push it!) is not going to make up for 23 hours of immobility. It’s important that we keep moving throughout the day for both our energy and our overall health and wellbeing. Aim for at least 10,000 steps each day. Some ways to start ramping up your daily step count include getting off the bus a stop earlier and making the choice to walk, rather than drive, when the option is feasible.
- Rewild yourself: in the age of technology, it’s easy to forget that humans came from the wild and some biohackers believe that this is one of the reasons humanity has become so plagued with chronic illness. The solution? Taking measures to “rewild ourselves”, including breathing air from nature and making sure we’re exposed to enough sunlight4.
- Try an elimination diet: this is a process for identifying what foods work for your individual body and it’s one of the best biohacks you can do for yourself. For 3-4 weeks, remove foods that are known allergens (gluten, soy, dairy, peanuts and corn). Slowly, re-introduce these foods, taking note of how you feel and how your body responds physically. The goal is to pinpoint whether you’re less intolerant of some foods than others, allowing you to make more informed decisions about what you’re eating.
- Peppermint oil for mild headaches: whether it be from staring at a screen all day or the stress of a jam-packed schedule, mild headaches are an unfortunate burden for many people. A quick, effective and natural relief can be difficult to come by! Next time you get a mild headache, try rubbing diluted peppermint oil on your forehead and temples. Mix 2 or 3 drops with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Peppermint oil stimulates blood flow and the menthol in it has a cooling effect on the skin5.
- Roll out your muscles: foam rolling is one of those simple biohacks that pay massive dividends for your body! Get the full low down on foam rolling and how to do it here.
- HIIT it: hack your muscles, happiness and motivation all at once with a HIIT workout! Incorporating regular HIIT sessions into your routine is a biohack that will benefit both your body and your mind. Delve into more of the benefits of HIIT and a workout to get you started here.
- Build muscles with baking soda: believe it or not but this everyday household staple has been shown to improve athletic performance across the board, including as a supplement for weight training6, HIIT7, and endurance interval training8. But please take note, using baking soda isn’t for everyone. If you’re considering it, start slowly, time your intake carefully, and do your research9.