Biohack Longevity How to Live Healthier + Happier

“Use it or lose it.”

She didn’t come up with the phrase, but I first heard it from Ellen Miller during her early morning running sessions up on Vail Mountain.
Much like the way your glutes atrophy if you don’t focus on using them when you’re climbing up a steep slope, your brain cells will stop functioning if they’re not being used.

The result? Aging. You know, that thing that we’re all trying desperately to hold back. Aging is the consequence of the accumulation of a variety of molecular and cellular damage that occurs over time. Of course, we can’t stem the passage of time, but we can impede the damage that we cause to our bodies and brains through our lifestyle and behavior.

Lifestyle medicine is central to an ancient medical practice from India called Ayurveda, which terms it “longevity,” and has more recently become the focus of a body of research called biohacking. Whatever you want to call it, the goal isn’t just to live longer but healthier and happier.

Humans are already living longer than at any other point in history, but a 2022 paper published by global consulting firm McKinsey points out an inconvenient truth: we’re also spending a greater portion of our lives than ever before in moderate-to-poor health. We’ve increased the quantity of our life but not the quality.

But, does this really apply to us here in the Valley? In Eagle County, it’s certainly true that quality of life is a priority; we enjoy abundant time in nature, shown to benefit both body and mind, and between winter sports and summer hiking and biking, you can’t fault us for our commitment to physical conditioning. A U.S. News assessment of our health reveals that our smoking population is 60% of the national average, and the average life expectancy is a full 12 years longer than the national rate. We’re also lower than average in cancer and heart disease rates.

So, we’re doing well, but if you could hack into your physiology and try to secure a healthier and happier future, wouldn’t you? After all, there’s a tendency here to burn the candle at both ends, taking on all the work we can get during high season and playing hard while we do it. Living in a place where housing is scarce, jobs are unreliable and friends move away is stressful. And, we undergo
a lot of joint surgeries, don’t we? To offset some of the potential damage of our work hard, play hard lifestyle, Ayurveda and modern biohacking offer a few simple practices you can integrate into your daily life that won’t detract from your rad mountain lifestyle but might make that extra-long life you’re going to live that little bit more enjoyable.


We all understand the importance of staying hydrated, especially at altitude, but Ayurvedic wisdom recommends you put the icy beverages down and sip hot (or warm) water to improve digestion. While more research needs to be done, modern science identifies hot water as a vasodilator that improves short-term circulation.


A promising biohack from both the ancient and modern perspective is to simply cut down on the number of calories you consume. Try weekly periodic fasting by taking a light, early dinner then skipping the following breakfast. It’s been shown to stimulate and increase the production of a sirtuin gene, which plays an important role in slowing down aging.

Even if you’re health conscious and eat your five a day, it’s easy just to keep returning to the same two fruits and three vegetables you like, but eating a more varied diet is thought to produce a more varied microbiome, promoting gut health, which can influence all aspects of your health and how you respond to disease.


Modern science hasn’t pinpointed the perfect type or quantity of exercise for longevity, but everyone agrees it’s key to longevity. While Ayurveda recommends you don’t overdo it and incur oxidative stress. Walking and yoga are considered good for all body types, and luckily, the Valley is packed with great trails and awesome yoga classes. Getting out in the early morning light has an added advantage, as it boosts melatonin production, which is good for anti-inflammation and anti-aging.


Meditation can slow aging as well as reduce stress. A study on transcendental meditation conducted at Harvard showed that meditators had significant improvements in cognitive functioning and blood pressure compared to control groups. Check out local classes with teacher Karen Anderson at Gravity Haus in Vail.

Further, biohackers love quick and easy ways to stave off mental decline, such as doing the daily crossword puzzle, learning to play a musical instrument and taking art classe sat Alpine Arts Center or other programs at Colorado Mountain College.