Do you feel like you’re working hard on your fitness and wellness goals, but still not getting to where you want to be? Enter biohacking, the practice of optimizing one’s body and mind by triggering specific chemical and physiological responses. In this article, we’ll look at the major goals of biohacking, and why it’s important for maintaining physical and mental wellness.
What Is Biohacking?
Let’s start by breaking down the word into its component parts. First we have bio, or more specifically, human biology. And hacking, which might conjure up images of a computer geek hammering away on a keyboard trying to break into a mainframe. Surprisingly, this isn’t too far off. On some level, our bodies operate as machines, receiving inputs from the environment in the form of food, oxygen, and sunlight, and generating outputs, namely energy.
By understanding the nuances of human biology, we can custom tailor our inputs or environment, to bring about a specific output.
How Does This Work in Practice?
According to the CDC, regular moderate-intensity exercise not only reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but can also reduce your risk of developing depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Ok duh I already knew that. But did you know that when you exercise determines how much benefit you’ll get from it? Or that you can get more cardio benefits from a 15 minute Tabata workout than an hour of running?
This underscores an important point about biohacking: the idea that you can work smarter instead of harder when it comes to improving your physical and cognitive well-being. There are two major reasons why this is important.
Reason Number 1:
For many of us, when we hear the word “fitness”, we think of the exercise junkie who runs 20 miles a day and eats nothing but salad and raw eggs. This might be a little extreme, but the fact is most of us carry the belief that true fitness can only be achieved by spending hours in the gym and following a strict diet.
This is where an understanding of human biology becomes critical. What if I told you that you could burn more fat, and also reduce your risk of cancer, simply by shortening the window during which you eat? This is a well-known biohacking practice called intermittent fasting. While exercising for 10 hours each week is incredibly difficult for most people, not eating doesn’t require any extra time dedication on your part, just a bit of discipline. You could exercise less and still achieve a high level of fitness.
If you feel like this is somehow cheating, you’re starting to catch on. Biohacking, by definition, IS cheating.
Reason number 2:
Our medical system, for all its wonderful advancements, has failed us in several key areas. When you walk into the doctor’s office, the general assumption is that:
1. You know something is wrong with you, and need a diagnosis
2. You want a checkup to see if something is wrong with you, which may result in a diagnosis
Doctors are well-intentioned people, but they spend very little time educating people on how to take health into their own hands.
That brings us to the major goals of biohacking:
Goal #1 - Allowing you to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to your health.
It’s sad that aging has become associated with crippling diseases like Alzheimer’s, Osteroporosis, and Heart Disease. We’ve come to accept this as a normal part of aging and the direct result of unfortunate genetics. But genes are not your destiny, and an increasing body of research suggests that many of these “chronic” diseases are in fact reversible through something called lifestyle medicine.
If you’re watching this video, you probably want to live longer, happier, and healthier. You want to be able to not only watch your grandkids grow up, maybe even your great grandkids. Sound impossible? Maybe not. New research has examined geological regions known as “blue zones”. These are areas of the world in which residents regularly live to be 100 or older. What’s special about the way these people live? In Okinawa, Japan, most people have what’s called a “moai” or a small group of lifelong friends. An Okinawan will meet and talk with their moai almost every day, and if they get sick or have a relative die, the entire group will visit their home to support them. Such strong social ties lower blood pressure and the risk of depression, and boost immunity. The bottom line? Less disease and a longer lifespan.
Goal #2 - Cultivating vitality
Living longer is great, but we also want to live well. As bertolt brecht once said: “One must live well to know what living is”
Thus, biohacking involves using what we know about human biology to help ourselves function at the highest level possible, whether that means being more focused, less stressed, or physically stronger.
Goal #3 - Saving time
Just like with the second goal, biohacking is about getting the most out of life, and that doesn’t happen when we become slaves to dieting or worse, exercise too much. That’s right, I said it.
As mentioned before, time is a precious resource. It’s easy enough to measure the value of your possessions, but most of us aren’t as clear when it comes to valuing our own time. If you spend an hour completing a daily task that could take twenty minutes, you’re wasting more than 240 hours every year. What would you do with all that extra time? Would you learn a new skill? Would you spend more time with loved ones? Maybe even start a side hustle?
So, as discussed, Biohacking holds promise not just for taking control of your time, but your health and well-being too. We all deserve the right to live intentionally, and the strategies mentioned in this video only scratch the surface of what’s possible. For more resources on biohacking and how to bring biohacking into your own life, be sure to subscribe to our mailing list and if you liked this article, go ahead and give it a like, or share with a friend. Until next time, happy hacking.