January is grim. The weather is nasty, festive cheer seems to have dried up, and work is back with a vengeance.
Everyone’s drawing up health resolutions but when your wellness options seem so drab and boring, why bother?
Well, good news! 2022 is going to be defined by a range of new wellness trends set to change the game.
From hula hoops and mushrooms, to pickleball and VR, industry experts outline the hottest fitness and food options for the new year.
No excuses now…
Low impact is the new high intensity
‘This year, people will fall in love with more mellow ways to move their bodies, which we’re dubbing “flexercise”,’ says Louise Richardson, director of marketing at Pinterest.
‘Our annual trends report is based on things people have been searching for in recent months and searches for things like “daily stretching routine” (+80%), “walking in nature” (+95%) and even “lazy workout in bed” (+135%), have started to spike in recent months.
‘When it comes to exercise, people are planning a slower, more mindful way to look after themselves.
‘With a gradual return to normality in the latter half of last year, we’ve also seen a 60% increase in people searching for ways to protect their energy.
‘It seems we’re not willing to snap back into our hectic pre-pandemic lives and have actually taken some real positives from slowing down.
‘Many of us found joy from exploring our local areas, with walks and hikes with friends becoming a whole new way of socialising.
‘With searches of “simple dance moves” spiking 150% in recent months, I was inspired to bring this trend to life at home with family and friends over the festive period, no doubt embarrassing my children in the process.’
Weighted hula hooping
‘Trends within the fitness industry change yearly, and as a PT it’s interesting to see what emerges,’ says Holly Kisby, a PT at PureGym in Lincoln.
‘This year, PureGym did some research looking at data from Google trends and we predict weighted hula-hoop workouts will dominate 2022.
‘Searches for “weighted hula-hoop” on Google have had a huge 234% spike in interest over the last year and on TikTok, the hashtag #weightedhulahoop” had almost 200million views.
‘It’s actually a really great way to get people active; exercises with weighted hula hoops can improve flexibility, strengthen the core, strengthen muscles in the lower body, improve posture, balance and most importantly, cardiovascular health.
‘One of the best things about including weighted hula hoop exercises in your workout regime is that it’s also loads of fun.’
Mushrooms in skincare
‘The benefits of selected mushroom types in skincare have been studied, documented, and implemented for a while, but we’ve only really seen their prevalent use in skincare grow over the last few years,’ says Abi Cleeve, founder, SkinSense.
‘No longer a niche ingredient, various studies show the impressive impact mushrooms can have on the skin.
‘Reishi mushrooms support the skin barrier by soothing inflammation, locking in moisture and helping the skin weather environmental aggressors.
‘Shitake and maitake mushrooms can assist those with pigmentation by fading dark spots and brightening the skin as well as containing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
‘There are even some mushroom complexes which, when extracted correctly, have a water holding capacity that rivals hyaluronic acid.
‘Since Origin’s Dr Weil Mega Mushroom range became the first in the mainstream to focus on mushrooms as a key ingredient, more brands are increasingly aware of the benefits, and are formulating with them.
‘With new species of funghi being discovered every day, this diverse ingredient allows consumers the chance to build a routine that’s tailored to their specific skin type and concerns.
‘However, it’s crucial the ingredient is formulated in the right way. Watch out for products with lamellar structures, that encapsulate ingredients and deliver them just below the skin’s surface where they are better protected and absorbed.’
‘One of America’s fastest growing sports, pickleball is set to take off in the UK,’ says Simon Pearson, group racquets manager at David Lloyd Clubs.
’In the UK, interest in the sport is growing with a 76.2% increase in Pickleball search interest between 2020 and 2021 and an average of 12.1k monthly Google searches throughout 2021.
‘Pickleball is a hybrid of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong and can be played indoors or outdoors, as singles or as doubles.
‘It is played between two or four players and sees them use solid paddles to hit a perforated ball over a net, with the net and rules similar to tennis, just with a few modifications.
‘The sport itself is super-accessible with less running around required than the usual racquet sports such as tennis, and the skills required often being easier to master.
‘For this reason, it’s popular with older players. For those looking to try pickleball, we offer it at 19 clubs nationwide with more rolling out next year.’
Gamification in fitness
‘Gamification techniques are used to increase someone’s natural desire to push themselves,’ says Michelle Van Horn, head of business development and partnerships at Xplor Technologies.
‘Within the fitness industry this means using fitness devices, VR headsets and apps etc, to bring game elements to fitness tasks with things like leader boards and rep counting.
‘The rise in wearable technology made it possible to gamify workouts in a way that was previously inaccessible: with motivation and encouragement, competition with others and rewards for achieving milestones.
‘As the trend grows, we’re seeing rewards programmes take it even farther with credit cards and companies offering financial benefit for your physical activity — allowing consumers to literally bet on themselves.
‘Data from Grandview Research suggests that global wearable technology is set to grow nearly 16% per year from 2020 until 2027 — making this trend even more likely to take off.
‘Some of the newest fitness challenges include workouts from home that don’t just reward performance, but also healthy behaviours — like water intake, sleep and meditation — integrating fitness gamification into everyday life.
‘Looking into 2022, we’re set to see gamification as a key part of our fitness and wellbeing regimes.’
The Climatarian diet
‘In 2022, we’ll become more mindful of what we consume and its impact on the planet,’ says Dr Alona Pulde, above, from nutrition app Lifesum.
‘This will lead us to focus more on foods that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower the carbon footprint.
‘The Climatarian diet centres on plant-based, seasonal and locally sourced produce and can save 1.5 tons of CO2 annually.
‘Food creates 20-30% of all global carbon emissions. A major component of this is animal food consumption, particularly beef, which contributes to higher emissions than plant foods (about 57% compared to 29%) and more than transportation globally.
‘This massive carbon footprint damages our planet in many ways, from rising temperatures to droughts and increasing sea levels.
‘Plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, have a lower carbon footprint than animal products.
‘Consuming more of these can help optimise your health and heal the planet. In fact, replacing beef with lentils and beans could get us up to 74% closer to meeting our UK greenhouse gas emission goals. Transitioning to more plant-based foods can decrease greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70% in 2050.
‘Eating seasonally and locally reduces processing, packaging, storing, and transporting food, which all contributes to fewer emissions and a lower carbon footprint.’
Eating for longevity
‘Many people believe genetics play the largest role in ageing,’ says Jennifer Irvine, founder of The Pure Package.
‘However, studies show that environmental factors, such as the food we eat, can have a bigger effect on how long we live and how healthily we do so. Life expectancy has doubled in the last 100 years and now a large number of people live to enjoy their pension pots.
‘However, a rise in diet and lifestyle-caused diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease, are beginning to lower mortality rates.
‘Studies from the NNA (Naturopathic Nutrition Association) show there are things we can do to help avoid these morbidities and therapists at the NNA believe improving mortality begins at the source — giving our bodies the best diet, lifestyle, and supplementation to keep illnesses at bay.
‘There’s plenty of evidence to suggest exercise is beneficial to longevity, but studies from the German Institute of Human Nutrition show how what we eat extends our lifespan.
‘Many foods are good for longevity and plant foods are a great place to start, and research shows those consuming a diet rich in plant foods have a 29-52% lower risk of premature death.
‘Some humans live between 100 and 120, so who knows what we are capable of if we start to eat for longevity instead of for the short term.’
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