Are you interested in biohacking? It doesn’t have to mean cyborg tech or expensive gadgets. Here’s how to introduce biohacking with simple lifestyle changes.
What is biohacking?
If you’re a fan of futuristic self-improvement stuff, you’ll know about biohacking. It’s an umbrella term for a range of practices, self-experiments, and tech that can optimise human physiology to improve performance.
Is biohacking difficult?
The truth is, biohacking doesn’t have to mean embedding tech into your body, or undergoing herbal “experiences” with indigenous gurus.
The most basic (and perhaps the most effective) biohacking practices are every day habits you can do today in the comfort of your own home.
The benefits of biohacking
There are plenty of potential benefits from even the most basic biohacking habits. You could decrease your risk of certain diseases, boost your mood, and optimise key body functions like blood pressure. Not to mention sleeping better and potentially losing a bit of unwanted weight!
Biohacking for performance
The biohacking ideas listed below are suitable for anyone, regardless of their fitness levels. But if you want to use biohacking to improve your training performance, you could consider adding a bit of tech into the mix. Common trackers, smart gadgets and wearables like Whoop and Oura Ring take you on a deep-dive into your body’s performance stats and show you what’s working and what you can improve on.
Basic biohacking ideas you can start today
From foods to brain music and blue-light blocking, here are some interesting biohacking ideas you might like to try.
Nutrigenomics is the concept that the food you eat interacts with your genes. It’s unproven and controversial, but worth a try. After all, it’s basically nutritious eating for health and performance. Nutrigenomics explores the idea that different foods and nutrients affect how you feel and behave. (1)
The benefits of using nutrition as a biohack include reducing disease risk, controlling weight gain, and supporting bone and muscle density. Just be sensible and don’t cut out (or introduce) anything in extreme measures.
Smart brain supplements are pretty common these days, and are a great example of how basic biohacking has entered daily life.
Nootropic ingredients are natural (often herbal) substances that can improve cognitive function and help with focus, concentration, mood, and productivity. Caffeine is a nootropic, but nootropic supplements go way beyond the effects of a flat white. You could use a nootropic supplement for training performance, study, or work.
Food has a huge impact on how we feel, sleep, and perform. You don’t have to go on a diet to adopt a biohacker’s approach to nutrition. Why not keep a food diary, recording how different food combinations leave you feeling (physically and cognitively)? That’s a basic biohack right there.
If you want to take it further, biohackers would suggest you try an elimination diet or intermittent fasting (2), but we don’t feel qualified to advise on that.
Yes, we know, there’s no such thing as a superfood. But turbo-charging your diet with highly nutritious foods could be the biohack that acts as peace of mind in the face of modern food habits. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – try a greens powder and see how you get on.
Cryotherapy (or even just cold water therapy at home) could be a way to treat inflammation and improve circulation. Enthusiasts feel that cryotherapy causes a rush of nutrient-dense blood to tissues which helps with recovery, healing, and health tissue. We’re not sure about the science, but it’s worth a try.
Red light therapy
Red light therapy is a kind of sauna therapy that exposes you to very specific infrared wavelengths (600-900 nanometres) that are absorbed to a depth of about 8 to 10 millimetres. Fans of red light therapy believe this activates key nervous system and metabolic processes to ease pain, reduce inflammation and boost recovery. You may be able to find red light therapy at your gym or a local sports therapist.
Could taking time for yourself be the ultimate biohack? Many experts would say so. Set aside 5 minutes a day to meditate, sit in silence, journal, or practice gratitude and you could see amazing benefits in your mood, digestion, and blood pressure.
Humans have known for centuries that music has a big impact on mood. We now know that music can be used as a biohack, helping you focus, giving you more energy, making you more productive, or easing you into deep rest. Binaural beats are said to synchronise with your brainwaves to create a meditative state that can lead to incredible creativity and productivity. Worth a try!
Blue light blocking
We’re all on our screens a lot more these days. Take a look at the digital wellbeing bit of your phone… shocking, right? All that time staring at screens is bad news for our brains. Blue light impacts your circadian rhythm and the body’s ability to produce melatonin – all of which leads to a bad night’s sleep. (3)
Blue light blocking glasses might help, or you could simply cut down your screen time (particularly in the evening) and set your devices to night-mode.