Last Updated on November 10, 2020 by Milo Martinovich
When you dive into the world of biohacking, you’ll come across devices and instruments of measurement and analytics that can cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars. But, what about biohacking on a budget for those of us that have limited spare cash but still want to maximize our health and full potential?
I’ve put together 6 essential hacks that are free. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t effective, however. These 6 hacks can be so effective that they are a great place for the beginning biohacker to start, even if you do have an unlimited budget!
#1 – Daily Sun Exposure
While Red Light Therapy is very popular in the biohacking world, you can get the restorative red light from the sun naturally. While it isn’t as focused and pure (i.e. it contains all spectrums of visible light, not just red light) it is very healthy.
For too long, we’ve been hearing that we need to stay out of the sun as often as possible. In actuality, daily sun exposure is required for optimal health.
Apart from the red light exposure, Vitamin D synthesis is put into motion by adequate sunlight on the skin. As mentioned on Examine.com, the majority of people don’t have optimal levels of Vitamin D in their systems, which leads to less-than-optimal health.
Daily sun exposure can also help with conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression, and Anxiety. Just as important, a huge percentage of outside activities and physically active compared to staying inside all day (source). More daily movement equals better health.
So, make sure to get your daily sun exposure to the largest percentage of exposed skin as possible. Ensure that you avoid staying long enough to burn. You have to find your sweet spot and adjust with your response.
#2 – Contrast Showers
A contrast shower is a fancy way of saying alternating between hot and cold water for specific periods during a shower.
The best way to utilize this hack is after a daunting workout. A meta-analysis shows positive benefits towards recovery when comparing contrast water therapy to other forms of recovery. The quicker and better you recover, the faster you are back to work making more progress!
Simply cycling between 2-3 minutes of hot water (not so hot that it burns you) with 1 minute of cold water (as cold as you can handle) for 3-4 cycles is all that is needed to boost recovery from any physical activity.
Ending the process on the cold water cycle will also boost cognition and mental clarity for a while. Anybody that has gone swimming in cold water or takes cold showers can attest to this benefit.
One thing to note is that contrast showers and cold therapy, in general, have been shown to reduce muscular damage post-workout. While that sounds like a good thing, it isn’t if you are trying to build muscle. Cold therapy reduces inflammation so powerfully that it can hinder muscle growth. So, if you are working towards maximum muscle growth, save the contrast showers for another time.
#3 – Earthing/Grounding
Just take your shoes off and go walk around on the bare ground for better health…sounds too good to be true. However, it has been shown to work for a myriad of health benefits!
The ground is full of electrons that will readily pass into your body when you are in bare contact with the ground. Improving sleep quality, overall pain, and the general feeling of well-being are a few of the touted benefits of regular grounding (source).
Earthing is commercialized with tons of products on the market that can make grounding work for you without even touching the ground. But, we are biohacking on a budget here, so the old school way of foot to the earth will suffice.
Just 30-40 minutes per day of barefoot activity is effective. That means that playing with your kids in the park or yard, tending to your garden, and enjoying a sunset are all great times to start earthing yourself.
#4 – Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting is a popular dietary protocol for helping users lose weight. If you are looking to lose weight, it can be a great tool to use. But, weight loss is far from its only use.
Intermittent Fasting can be one of the most effective hacks, especially for those who are biohacking on a budget!
It can: boost growth hormone production, enhance gene expression with health and longevity benefits, regular insulin sensitivity, induce autophagy, reduce inflammation, and reduce the risk for serious diseases like heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s (source).
One of the more popular methods is the 16:8 fasting schedule, popularized by the LeanGains Method. It involves fasting for 16 hours per day and restricting all calorie consumption to an 8-hour window. Usually, that 8-hour window is fixed every day (example – the eating window is from 1-9 PM every day and doesn’t shift).
Other methods of fasting can be just as effective but may be more difficult for beginners. Alternate day fasting and prolonged fasts are becoming more and more popular as the health benefits of Intermittent Fasting continue to amaze.
#5 – Meditation
Meditation has been around forever, but so few people take advantage of the real benefits it can provide. Meditation is a huge topic, so covering it in this article isn’t going to happen. However, we can look at a few beginner tips towards better meditation and some of the health benefits that it provides.
One of the huge benefits of meditation is the reduction of stress, Cortisol levels, and negative thoughts. The main factor in the success of meditation is whether or not the person meditating truly buys into the concept.
The brain is a powerful thing so if you don’t believe something will work, it probably won’t work. On the other hand, if you keep an open mind and embrace the power of meditation, it will improve your day to day lifestyle and mindset drastically.
Everybody meditates differently. Luckily for us biohacking on a budget, all methods are essentially free!
Simply finding a place where you can relax and get out of your head is a great place to start. Being present in the moment and combining that with positivity towards your goals goes a long way!
If you were expecting some sort of how-to list on how you can achieve spiritual enlightenment in 7 days or some other clickbait-y trash, go elsewhere. Telling someone how they should be meditating is a fool’s errand.
Instead, focusing on getting in the right mindset to approach meditation is the way to progress. If you are someone that can’t do this on their own, seek out a guided meditation. While I find it to be less effective than being alone with my thoughts, others find it highly effective.
There are no wrong ways to meditate!
#6 – Oxygen Saturation
Deep breathing is something that we do during workouts and…well…not much else. In our modern world, the majority of our day is very light on activity. So deep breathing takes a back seat since we only breathe to get what we need to survive and nothing more.
Instead, we can saturate our blood oxygen levels regularly with deep breathing. While you can also do this effectively with things like canned oxygen, simply breathing in fresh air is effective as well.
There are also expensive devices to manipulate oxygen intake levels during intense exercise that further the benefits of training. But, it isn’t readily available for those who are biohacking on a budget.
One popular way to reach oxygen saturation is the Wim Hof Method (which involves other biohacking tactics as well). It boasts an array of benefits for overall health and physical performance. You’d be surprised what you can reap from the simple process of breathing!
Biohacking On A Budget – Ready To Start?
It isn’t ideal to be biohacking on a budget, simply because some of the best hacks do cost money. But, these 6 hacks can drastically change your health and lifestyle when implemented regularly.
Even better, you can stack the majority of these to boost efficiency. You could ground yourself getting your daily sun exposure in the middle of your daily fast while meditating and deep breathing to reach oxygen saturation. Follow that with a workout and a contrast shower and you tackled this list in no time at all!
Who says biohacking on a budget isn’t possible!?