WELLNESS

From 'reducetarianism' and plant power to smarter fasting and postbiotics: wellness trends to watch in 2022

BETTER TOGETHER: Stronger online fitness communities were a happy by-product of exercising in iso - and experts predict we'll stay plugged in to these networks in 2022. Picture: Shutterstock.
BETTER TOGETHER: Stronger online fitness communities were a happy by-product of exercising in iso - and experts predict we'll stay plugged in to these networks in 2022. Picture: Shutterstock.

Plant power

Whether we're motivated by ethical, environmental or health concerns or all three, more of us are exploring plant-based eating.

With global retail sales of plant-based foods predicted to increase fivefold by 2030, we can expect a broader range of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives in 2022.

'Reducetarianism'

Not ready to go the full vego? Embrace the "reducetarianism" trend - making meat an occasional treat while choosing only ethically produced options.

Meanwhile, the array of alt-milks, AKA "mylks" continues to grow, with barley poised to join the liquid ranks of oat, almond, soy, coconut and rice, thanks to its low fat, fibre-rich nutritional profile.

There's even talk of potato mylk becoming a thing ...

There's even talk of potato mylk becoming a thing - and why not? The humble spud already makes excellent vodka.

Group exercise

After all those long months at home, there's a renewed enthusiasm for exercising among real live people. Expect plenty of new and easier ways to get moving with your fitness buddies - either at the gym or out in the open air.

Angharad Saynor, master trainer at nationwide spin class studios Infinite Cycle says, in 2022 group training is going to remain "extremely popular".

"After two years of isolated online workouts, people are craving human connection. They want to train with their friends and with people, in the buzz of their favourite studios and with their favourite trainers."

She adds: "People will be looking to train smarter and to see results. The world is opening back up, people are busy and want to be efficient with their gym time, which is why most group training gyms maximize time with 40-50 minute workouts."

Tech that connects

Stronger online fitness communities were a happy by-product of exercising in iso - and experts predict we'll stay plugged in to these networks in 2022.

Expect more gyms to offer hybrid options, allowing members to either attend classes in person or dial in from home, while fitness apps continue to expand access to live streamed classes and connect likeminded fitness lovers anywhere in the world.

Jon Gregory, founder of Vitruvian, a smart home gym and fitness app says, a top wellness trend will be all about people connecting.

"Vitruvian has enabled users from all around the world to connect, train together, create teams and leaderboards, bringing a social element and gamification to their at-home training. It adds an element of camaraderie which is motivating."

Wellness on your wrist

Meanwhile, those ubiquitous wearables - think Garmin, Apple Watch and all their wrist-candy friends - will micromanage our wellness in ever-deeper detail.

Smartwatches are no longer just for tracking your steps. With seriously accurate sensors and software to analyse your health, new-gen wearables are morphing into mini clinics. Many offer functions like blood oxygen saturation measurement alongside the standard heart monitor, with manufacturers confident they'll soon be able to offer blood pressure measurement and algorithms that learn your body's unique internal rhythms and alert you to changes.

Smarter fasting

Our pursuit of more accessible, balanced health solutions is driving the rise of intermittent fasting, an easier and more moderate take on the old-school detox abstinence. The new-gen fasting tweaks your daily eating patterns, rather than stopping them entirely.

Gabrielle Newman, nutritionist and recipe developer for The Fast 800, an intermittent fasting plan developed by Dr Michael Mosley says: "while fasting normally means going without any food for a period of time, intermittent fasting is a modern, easier approach where you stop eating for a part of each day or restrict your calorie intake for a few days each week."

They recommend a 5:2 ratio (two days per week of 800 calories a day intake and a healthy diet for the rest) or extending your normal overnight fast by eating dinner early or skipping breakfast. Fasting enthusiasts claim greater fat loss, reduced inflammation and lowered insulin resistance.

Postbiotics

Just when you thought you'd mastered the mysteries of your microbiome (our microscopic colony of internal organisms that support a healthy gut), along comes a new player in your digestive system's increasingly complicated cast.

By now, we know that probiotics are your gut's beneficial bacteria, and prebiotics are the nutrients on which they thrive.

Together, they're good news for your overall wellbeing. But new research is indicating extra health benefits of postbiotics, the waste products produced after probiotics eat prebiotics. Bacteria poop, you could say.

Postbiotics are thought to further enhance the gut health benefits of their pro and pre buddies, including improved immunity.

Boost all three by upping your intake of fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.