Are you biohacking? If you’re not sure, I bet you are in some capacity and I’m here to explain why a biohacking mindset is beneficial to surviving the teenage years and beyond.
Depending who you ask or what you google, biohacking has a range of definitions. I think of it as total body optimization. A formal definition, according to Dave Asprey (a famous biohacker), is “the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you, so you have more control over your own biology.” Ok…so aren’t biology, environment, science all subjects from school you are already familiar with!?!
Let’s start by tapping into biology and our DNA. We are now able to uncover our unique DNA by taking a quick saliva test. Yes! Imagine that, there is a simple test to learn more about ourselves! Your DNA can give you insights about how you sleep, perform, age, and even metabolize food. Various companies market these tests with the intention to use the results to be healthier, more productive and mitigate unknown risks. Note: the DNA test is just a baseline to find out what you are born with, genetics do not define us. In actuality, DNA + ENVIRONMENT = YOU. The environment, aka your lifestyle choices, is a critical part of who YOU are. For example, if you have negative variants of certain genes, you may be genetically predisposed to feeling more stressed or tired than your peers. On the other hand, you could be feeling just as stressed or tired merely from poor lifestyle choices/habits that have nothing to do with your genetics. Your choices, when they have POSITIVE effects and optimize your body, are considered the biohacks!
I bet you are wondering how this all relates back to you right now? According to The Princeton Review’s Student Life in America report, most teens reported they spend a third of their study time feeling worried, stressed or stuck. I am sure you don’t need fancy surveys to know this sounds familiar! Sources of current stress are the pressure to have high tests scores, enough extracurricular activities, finish applications, and/or find scholarships/money. The unfortunate part is once accepted and during the next 4 years, the
stress won’t disappear, the sources will just shift!! Your new found freedom may be exciting, but in addition to studying, there is pressure to make new friends, eat right, sleep enough, and overall learn to live on your own. You need to find ways to combat stress, keep the brain healthy to study, manage your own schedule, program time to get sleep, eat right to perform at activities and stay happy enough to socialize. Sounds like overload? Lucky for you here are THREE easy biohacks to consider: 1) meditation, 2) exercise and 3) maintaining the right levels of certain vitamins/minerals.
- For meditation, there are apps that guide you and teach mindfulness. They can be used during your study breaks and downtime. By simply taking a short walk, you can clear the mind to keep stress hormones (cortisol levels) in check and your brain health at its peak. It can’t be any easier to check out the app store for health related apps to download and try setting break/stand up reminders on your phone, wearable device or watch to keep you on track.
- For exercise, find workouts/activities/sports you love because the benefits go beyond decreasing stress and weight management. You may think it’s an excuse to skip due to studying or socializing, but your health must be a priority too. Consistent exercise is crucial to combat heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression/anxiety and other conditions. The goal is to form the habit now to maintain it throughout life. There are many choices to get your recommended daily amount of exercise: running, boxing, Crossfit, HIIT, spinning, dance, join an intramural sports team or even just walking. My tip is don’t fall for the trendy activity just because your friends like it, choose what you enjoy and you will be more likely to stick with it.
- For vitamins, most Americans are Vitamin D deficient in the winter, some year round. A supplement pill is ok if your doctor recommends it, but my advice is the good old sunshine. Try to get 15 minutes a day of sun without sunscreen so it can absorb into your skin, or most nut milks are fortified with it if you are sun-sensitive. Vitamin D is important for bone growth, it helps reduce inflammation and boosts immune function. For minerals, magnesium supports hundreds of chemical reactions in the body and is key for both brain and body health. Foods rich in magnesium are avocados, nuts and bananas. So break out the almond milk smoothie and guacamole to get your vitamin D and magnesium fix, just maybe don’t eat them together!
The concept of controlling our own health and biology for the future is the foundation of this lesson in Biohacking 101. I’ve covered a few basics, but there are many types of diets, trends, treatments, exercises, machines and new technologies that contribute to our ability to biohack. In the future, new discoveries and advances in science/technology will enable us to do even more to optimize our bodies and boost longevity. Who wants to live until 120 years old? Or who wants to get their DNA tested and get started on their biohacking mindset?
|Guest Blog by Danielle Bogaty
Instagram: @danielleb430I graduated from Brandeis University magna cum laude with a Bachelors in 1998. I am certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) since 2004. Beyond general clientele looking to get fit, my clients include special populations such as older adults, pre/post-natal, teens and rehab/physical therapy. Anywhere ranging from 12-75+, beginner to advanced.Additionally, I work with High School and College age females in my Body Well By Danielle Fit University program. It is a virtual coaching program to establish a game plan with fitness, eating habits, supplements, injury prevention and sleep health….all by using the right tools, facts and eve genetics. The Fitness-Nutrition-Wellness Industry is over saturated with workout options, advice, miracle diets and cookie cutter solutions. It’s a pivotal age leaving home, going off to make decisions plus study, make friends and have fun. I want to take away the stress of making health/fitness choices blindly and relying on peer influence of what works…bc it doesn’t. My goal is to coach the INDIVIDUAL at a young age and set them up with a plan for success.