Biohacking is the practice of managing your biology using medicinal, nutritional, physical, or electronic techniques. Mostly it uses the best of science and technology to improve your health. In this blog, I outline my top 5 biohacking tools that would make great gift ideas fo Christmas. All but one of these gift ideas have been tried and tested by yours truly, and have all positively impacted my health. I have listed them regarding cost, lowest to highest.
You may or may not know that the human body is composed of 70% water. It, therefore, makes sense that ensuring adequate hydration is strongly associated with better health. Despite knowing this fact, I always found it hard to build drinking enough water into my daily routine. I would always forget and by the time I remembered the day was gone. I have remedied this problem by using a water app on my iPod. Every hour the app reminds me through an alarm (that sounds like running water) to have a drink. Once you have had a drink, you can then record it on the app which helps you monitor your progress. The cost of the basic waterlogged app is FREE, but you can purchase an upgrade for a few dollars that allows you to track over different devices.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
For millions of years and before the age of civilisation, humans would go to sleep at dusk and rise with the dawn. Our physiology has not caught up with our modern lifestyle. When darkness comes, our bodies begin to produce a hormone called melatonin, which puts us to sleep. Unfortunately and especially in the winter months, it gets dark way before bedtime, and so we turn on the lights. We also tend to spend a couple of hours before bed staring at some screen. Those lights and screens emit a blue light that tricks our bodies into thinking it is still daytime and so halts the production of melatonin. One remedy, of course, is not to use any electronic devices for an hour before bed. If this is not possible my solution is to buy yourself a pair of blue light blocking glasses. They do exactly what they say, they block the blue light. I find they work really well. So if you have to finish that report on your computer or watch Netflix into the late hours, then they are well worth the investment. The cost of the Uvex glasses I use is about CAD 19 through Amazon.
Since starting yoga earlier this year, I feel as strong and more flexible than I have in decades. I also play soccer once a week, summer and winter. I exercise but my may concern these days is that I do not move enough. While living in London, you tend to get around more on your feet than in a car, usually because it was often quicker to walk and take public transport. Now in Canada and living in the country, my car is only practical solution for getting from A to B. I need to get walking back into my life and to inspire that I have asked my wife, Sue for a FitBit for Christmas. Just like with drinking water, I am going to draw motivation from technology which I hope will help get me moving. The cost of a Fitbit ranges from CAD 100 to 300.
Meditation has been shown to have enormous health benefits, however, sitting still for many, including myself, can be tricky in our manic worlds. The main reason meditation helps because it contributes to reign in the effects of stress on our bodies. Because of my semi-traumatic childhood, I do not deal well with stress so I need work extra hard to mediate the effects. To do this, I invested in an app that both helps me manage and measure my stress. Heartmath technology measures your heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is the time between each heart beat. Mostly the more variable the time between each heartbeat, the less you are stressed. Aswell measuring HRV the app comes with inbuilt exercises to help you meditate. The cost of the app ranges from CAD 120 to 300.
Stand up Desk
I have heard it said that sitting is the new smoking. Just like with smoking our bodies were designed for sitting. Unfortunately, we spent most of our lives sitting either at the office, at home and in our cars. I have been as guilty of this as the next person, but I wanted to make a change. My solution was to start using a stand-up desk in my office. Early in the year, we had purchased a stand-up desk for our receptionist. Soon after we bought the desk, she decided to leave, and our new receptionist is still warming to the idea of standing at work so decided to make use of it myself. I have only been using the desk a couple of weeks so far so it is hard to gauge any benefits but I’m sure they will come. The cost of the stand-up desk was CAD 400.
These are just a handful of biohacking ways you can use technology to improve your health. If you are stumped for gift ideas why not try one of these and inspire someone to start looking after their health.
This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.