Every year sees a host of health and wellness trends come about but with a year that was filled with multiple lockdowns, restrictions, and an abundance of stress and worries, many people had to recreate what it means to be healthy and ways to achieve that.
2021 saw a few great ones including plant proteins, wearable tech, more people turning to the anti-inflammatory diet, being more aware of gut health, probiotics, and the continued interest in herbs and spices for better health.
The top fitness trends last year included the continued surge in people taking up yoga, HIIT, strength training, bodyweight training, group exercise classes, and relying more on wearable technology to help with their fitness goals, except now in the comfort of their own homes.
What does 2022 hold for us?
Convenience-based wellness, sound healing, body awareness, sober curiosity, food waste fighters, and mental health take center stage.
With many of us still working from home over the past year, a lot of what we utilized for health and wellness was influenced by the online space. As the world opens back up, we’re seeing people wanting to have the option to work out, attend seminars, see the latest movie, and even learn to cook either online or in person. We are now approaching the year of providing a level of conscious convenience that consumers not only demand but expect.
Fitness gets a makeover
Due to the pandemic, gyms were forced to make quick transitions into digital fitness and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
According to RunRepeat, the online fitness industry is projected to be worth more than $59 billion by 2027. It has been seen that online fitness isn’t necessarily a competitor to brick-and-mortar businesses, but an ally. Statistics show that gyms that offer virtual classes also increase their in-person class attendance by 12%.
This shows that members want the option to head to the gym a few days a week, but also get a workout in at home.
Sound healing is coming into 2022 hot
Many of us can agree that sound has the power to bring you back to a moment in time or soothe your soul. But in 2022, the impact that sound has on well-being will make itself heard through what is known as psychoacoustics.
There are companies like Endel and Brain.fm that are using technology to create adaptive sleep soundscapes and "functional music". These are known as algorithmic music designed to prompt a specific mental state like focus or sleep while reducing distraction.
Think of it as a modern approach to ancient sound healing.
It’s the year of educating yourself on how your body works
Caring for yourself starts with intention by understanding and appreciating your unique needs as a person. This can help you live a healthier, more balanced life. And at the core, is about educating yourself on how your body works.
Over the last decade, research has been diving deeper and deeper into how we function. From gut health to hormonal health to mental health, scientists have been trying to bring to light what it is that we need to do to take care of ourselves to live healthy and happy lives.
This is where the personal responsibility of learning about one’s own health comes into play. From personal coaches and mentors to online programs, we are seeing less of a reliant on doctors and more of a responsibility of educating ourselves.
Yes, financial wellness is still very much a thing now
Our mental and physical state is directly affected by what happens in life. And, being financially sound is an integral component of having a stable life and good health. The first step towards financial wellness is to talk about it and seek legitimate advice if you find yourself in an overwhelming situation due to debt (credit card, student loans, mortgages), loss of income, and poor investment choices.
YouTube influencer Aja Dang made headlines speaking up about her student loan debt, and now uses her platform to bring awareness overwise not talked about topics—finances, loans, debts, and budgeting.
Being financially unstable can make you ill, stressed, anxious, affect relationships and take up bad habits to cope. As more and more people are drawing these correlations, there is a growing emphasis on understanding the need to plan ahead, instill proper money values (insurance, never spend more than you can afford, invest wisely), and being open to sound advice.
Sober curiosity takes an influential stand
For some, the pandemic was boozy, which has led to the resurgence of this trend. What’s different about the newest non-alcoholic or zero-proof offerings is that they’re well-crafted and feel just as indulgent as the real stuff. This new wave of sober curiosity stems from health-conscious consumers who like to have lots of options.
Mindful food, packaging, and lifestyle choices
The last few years’ keywords—sustainable, the 5 Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle), zero waste, bulk buying, and plastic pollution—will influence consumers, even more, this year. As corporations recognize the consumer’s desires of being mindful of what and how much they consume and how everything is packaged, they are beginning to offer their products and services in more eco-conscious ways.
Forget fast fashion, buy bulk, use reusable straws, drastically decrease single-use plastic, support local farmers and businesses, try a zero-waste lifestyle and choose products that are environmentally sound and have climate-friendly systems in place. Choosing to stop or cut down meat consumption is an easy lifestyle choice with a huge impact—agriculture and livestock are huge contributors to carbon dioxide emissions.
Brain Health and Mental Wellness takes center stage
There is one major piece that we’ve seen come to the conversation table since the pandemic: the need for more mental health support and conversation around the topic. The conversation around mental health and trauma has grown and evolved more than ever before.
We want a healthy brain that will last a lifetime but there are many factors that affect this including a poor diet, pollution, stress, lack of sleep, and even prolonged screen time. Alzheimer’s is a major threat to our brain health and is at epidemic levels across the world.
The most important defense against this is a wholesome anti-inflammatory diet (brain-boosting compounds), a healthy and active lifestyle, keeping mentally active by learning new skills, and staying connected to our communities.
Asian herbs as remedies make a comeback
It’s what we’ve always known—the many herbs our grandmothers used to do work. Ancient remedies are passed down through the generations because before modern medicine, we relied on what nature had to offer. Adaptogens (natural substances that combat stress by regulating hormones) will be the buzzword this year with traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic herbs leading the way.
Scientific research has yet come to absolute conclusions but most of these herbs are safe and if it’s been used for millennia, they must work. Popular Asian herbs that are adaptogens to look out for include Gotu Kola (Pegaga), Ashwagandha, Astragalus, and ginseng.
Rise in Stress, Anxiety, and Trauma-Informed Awareness
Over the last 18 months, not only has mental health care taken precedence, but we've observed more and more buzz around this topic on public platforms. From social media posts to podcasts, to blogs, the conversation has grown and evolved more than ever before, chipping away at the stigma, little by little.
Experts will often group trauma into two separate categories, "Big T" and "little t." There's much more appreciation these days for micro-traumas. The buildup of those traumas can have an impact on overall well-being.
In the wake of the pandemic, we've all been traumatized to some extent, which is why we’re seeing the conversation rise.
Workouts become cortisol friendly and recovery is key
Cortisol is known as the ‘fight or flight hormone and we are now becoming aware that on top of the stresses from everyday life, our bodies can also get stressed during workouts, and there can be a point when you’re actually over-exercising and your body rebels. If you think that hard-core, punishing workouts are the only way to achieve your fitness goals, you may be doing more harm than good.
Cortisol is released in stressful situations including during a relentless gym session or an extra-long run. Fitness goals can still be achieved with low-impact workouts such as reformer pilates, taking time to recover properly, and doing a workout that is fun and doesn’t make you feel stressed! Prehab & injury prevention services are on the rise and are even helping grow fitness studios in London.
That’s it for our list of 10 trends set to define the future of health, wellness, and fitness! What trends will you be adding to your routine this year?