You probably opened this thinking I was going to get on some moral high horse or tell you not to cut people off in traffic or something. Nope. I want to talk about health optimization. I kind of vomit a bit in my mouth saying it. It’s a bit of a millennial, entrepreneur, bullshit bio-hacker buzzterm right now. You can find articles and videos everywhere telling how you can optimize your entire life or bio-hack your way to the body of your dreams. And they aren’t totally wrong! I just have a problem with how they present it.
Now I understand that making outrageous claims gets clicks and that for some people those clicks equals money. So go on playa, get you some money. And if I’m being honest the title to this very article was SOMEWHAT clickbaity in nature. That’s not really the issue though.
My problem is that they make it sound so damn SIMPLE. If you just add this one thing or do this one activity, and BOOM! Life is different! But that’s just not the reality. Your body is a complex organism with a wide array of needs that change on a daily basis based on a million different factors. You need to have A LOT of things in line to optimize your health. I like to think of it like there is a little engineer inside of me turning dimmer switches up and down based on the input I give to my body. Do more things that it needs? More dimmer switches get turned up and I just feel better. Do less things right and those switches get turned lower and my health and performance suffer. That is optimization. It is finding the things that work and sticking with them, as well as finding what doesn’t work and learning to minimize its presence in your life.
I want to talk about things that work. Not for everyone and not for forever. But for most people and for most of the time.The tried and true activities and habits you should be doing to, gulps, optimize your health. These aren’t super stringent. They aren’t exact and your ability to wiggle within them gives you some room to breathe. But if you operate within their lines you should be good to go!
Get Some (more) Sleep
Are you a living, breathing, human person that has stress and obligations in life? Well then you probably are not getting enough sleep. Maybe you’re getting enough to make it through the day by the skin of your teeth, but much like living paycheck to paycheck, it aint a whole lot of fuckin fun.
Sleep is important for mental focus, hormone regulation, and recovery from vigorous activity. So if you are walking around cloudy, cranky, and sore I would recommend getting a little bit more sleep in your system.
Take Care of Yo Gut
You know how I said your body was a complex organism that has a variety of needs that can change often? Yeah you can thank your stomach for most of that. As strange as it seems when we first hear it, your stomach and the functions it does is the tone setter for your body and will determine how well the rest of your body operates. You should probably take care of it, right?
There are several ways to do this but none are easier than probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that can aid in gut health. Your stomach is full of bacteria both good and bad that help aid in digestion as well as help create 90% of your immune system (yet another minor function of the stomach), so logic would say supplementing with good bacteria would probably be a good idea. Good sources of probiotics are quality yogurts, kombucha, and other fermented foods such as sauerkraut or sourdough bread!
Probiotics aren’t the only way to take care of your gut though! It is also very important to make sure you are eating foods with a low inflammatory profile and that are of a good quality. Here is an article from Power Athlete that gives a very starting point for what should be eaten in quantity, limited amounts, and what should be avoided all together. It is very similar to what we would recommend to any of our clients.
Get Mobile, Agile, Hostile!
Left side! Strong side! No one else was feeling the Remember the Titans reference? Ok, that’s cool, my feelings aren’t hurt…much. But seriously people, we need to get active. Whether it is walking, running, playing with your kids, or lifting some heavy ass weights, getting movement is key. Each activity comes with its own set of benefits based on its movement patterns and intensity level, but ensuring that you get some movement in your day is key. Whether it’s building muscle and strength through strength training, cardiovascular health with running or biking, or simply learning to move properly by following the lead of a fuckin baby, just move! The endorphins you will receive will leave you feeling more positive and the challenge to your bodies status quo will spark physical and mental change that helps lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle!
Now remember I said these things are flexible WITHIN THEIR PARAMETERS. No exact thing will likely work forever, but an activity with these rules should always lead to a more optimized mind and body. You don’t have to add this stuff in all at once. You can do it bit by bit and see what works for you and what is most sustainable for you and your lifestyle. But try and live a life that follows this advice and i guarantee you will be happier, healthier, and on the road to being the best human you can be!