5 Hacks for Improved Health

a woman taking part in a yoga session

A few years back I was discussing health and wellbeing with a group of college students. One member of the group, who’d been diligently implementing my advice over a number of weeks, stopped me mid-discussion and proclaimed: ‘Why is health so hard!’

I asked him to elaborate. He said that cooking healthy meals from scratch was time consuming. I agreed. He then said that to prepare healthy pack lunches required that he get up at ‘stupid O’clock’ in the morning. I agreed – and even earlier if you want to get 30-mins of cardio in before the day starts. He finished by expounding the difficulty of having to exercise restraint when the world was so full of temptations.

On concluding his impassioned complaint, he quietly waited for some words of consolation. But I could only offer confirmation.

Truth is, health is hard. It’s not only heard, it’s time consuming and requires persistent dedication – not to mention cast iron self-discipline. And once you’ve conditioned yourself to pursue health any relapse inevitably results in self-chastisement. You’re demand if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. But, of course, it’s better to do.

However, the despondent college student, in his overly enthusiastic bid to wholesale overhaul his lifestyle, made precisely that critical mistake: he tried to make too many changes at once. This approach almost always results in failure.

Drawing from my own personal experience and what I’ve read around the subject of behaviour change, the person who makes small positive health and lifestyle modifications is far more like to maintain those modifications. A tweak here and a tweak there largely go unnoticed.

This is where the ‘hack’ can help. Though often regarded as shortcuts to health, hacks are in fact minor positive lifestyle behaviours, or ‘soft’ interventions (because we all know in our hearts that there’s really no shortcut to health). Thus, they are eminently implementable and, if you adopt one or two at a time, they won’t require a radical lifestyle reformation.

So, with that said, let’s have a look at some health hacks that you can begin incorporating into your daily habits.

Health Hack #1: Drink a Glass of Water on Waking

a woman drinking water from a glass

Though there’s scant scientific evidence supporting this hack, a flicker of common sense will more than suffice to illuminate the reason why it’s a good idea to start your day with a good glug of the wet stuff.