Biohacks to Boost Your Health
| 4 min read
When it comes to lifestyle changes and getting healthier, a lot of us embrace the tech options we have available. We count our daily steps, check our blood pressure and heart rate on wearable devices. We let tech tally the number of calories we consume each day – and the number we burn during exercise. All of this means we love that we have lots of little pieces of information at our fingertips to help us to personalize our health and exercise improvements. That’s why so many people are into biohacking. Let’s look at how biohacks can boost your health.
What is Biohacking?
A pretty broad term, biohacking is probably best described as do-it-yourself biology enhancements. It’s when people try to make changes to their weight, sleep schedule, daily diets, or how their bodies look or feel. Some of these are pretty basic, like adding regular meditation to improve your sleep and make you feel more calm. Others take some work, like getting on board with intermittent fasting or even a trendy keto diet to increase weight loss. Still others are more high-tech, like sending blood or saliva samples to a company that will give you a highly personalized diet or supplement regimen.
Just like any health trend offering a shortcut for faster results, some of these things can make you feel better, while others may come with a degree of risk. If you’re in doubt, it’s always best to talk to your health care provider before embarking on any biohack change. Here are some of the most popular biohack trends based on healthy living concepts:
Meditation. If you’ve never really tried regular meditation – or if you’ve just been a dabbler – you might be surprised to find how committing to a few minutes of quiet mindfulness each day can help bring you long-lasting health benefits. The biggest positive effects reported by those who work meditation into their daily schedule are better quality of sleep and lower stress levels. This can have a domino effect on improving your physical and mental health. And research has shown that meditation lowers feelings of anxiety which, in turn, lowers the level of chronic disease-causing inflammation in our bodies.
Water. Nutrition and exercise experts say one of the easiest biohacks you can do for yourself every day revolves around the water you’re drinking. First, make sure the water you are drinking is filtered, and make sure you’re getting the right amount for your body. Buying filtered water or running your tap water through a filter ensures what you’re drinking is the best you can make it, removing chlorine and impurities. And while eight glasses a day has been the norm, biohack advocates suggest paying attention to your own body to see if you need more or less water. How do you know if you need more? Signs of dehydration include:
- Dark-colored urine
- Brain fog
- Muscle cramping
Intermittent fasting. A popular weight loss and food-control trend, intermittent fasting suggests people set a window of time they want to consume their food within each day. It could be a 12-hour window, or all their eating could be done in as little as a six or eight-hour time slot each day. The goal is to restrict calorie intake to that window of time and force your body to burn stored fat during the other hours. Some of the biohack benefits your body might see, according to research:
- Higher levels of human growth hormone, which could trigger more fat-burning and muscle growth, according to research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- Kick-starting of cellular repair inside the body, according to research in Ageing Research Reviews.
- When blood insulin levels drop, fat-burning increases, according to research in the National Library of Medicine.
Hack your sleep schedule. Not getting enough good sleep is linked to so many mental and physical health issues, from weight gain to memory issues to muscle loss. If you’re ready to hack your way to healthier sleep, here are a few ways to get started:
- Set a strict bedtime, one that will ensure at least seven hours of shut-eye.
- Keep the room cool and dark, with enough blankets to keep yourself cozy.
- Use black-out curtains to keep outside light from interrupting your sleep.
- Need noise to sleep? Have a fan or white noise machine or app ready to go.
- Ditch the TV and phone screens at least a half hour before bed.
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