11 Wellness Trends for 2020 and Beyond

By Val Silver

The new decade brings with it new health and wellness trends that nurture mind-body well-being for more people than ever. In recent years, the wellness industry has come out of the shadows to become a worldwide force with a market growing two times faster than the global economy. 

In their quest for physical and mental well-being, consumers purchased tons of riced cauliflower and cauliflower-based sauces and pizza crust, functional mushrooms, smart technology, and at-home workout products. Numerous articles on gut health, keto diets, high-intensity interval training, and intermittent fasting captured the attention of health practitioners and laypersons alike.  Along with new wellness trends, these trends are likely to continue and expand in coming years.

health and wellness trends 2020

1. Less is More.

The decade of the 90’s had an almost frenetic energy about it. Despite all the talk about stress relief, the explosion of health information,  misinformation, and options on the web was overwhelming. Exercise this way, restrict your eating that way, do more in less time, be more productive, buy more, declutter more, 20 ways to hack your life, and so on. 

In reaction to the push, people are pushing back and beginning to realize that less is more. Workouts can be smarter, slower, and less frequent, fewer drinks will suffice, less spending is wiser and kinder on the wallet and the planet, making small changes consistently can have a bigger impact than going all in and burning out. Sometimes it's okay to go with the flow or just take time off to veg. 

Which brings us to another aspect of the slowdown trend. Napping and getting more sleep at night. Whether employers will jump on the nap pod trend as a proven way to improve productivity remains to be seen.  

2. More emphasis will be placed on mental & emotional well-being.

Mental and emotional well-being will garner more funding, time and attention in the upcoming decade.

1. One predicted health and wellness trend for 2020 and beyond is that mindfulness, breathwork, and heart coherence meditations will be incorporated into fitness and wellness programs. 

2. Screen time: Research has revealed that our physical and mental health suffers when we stare at a screen for hours on end. Although better than no socialization, virtual interactions do not have the same benefits as face-to face communication and group activities. In addition, all that sitting is unhealthy for body and mind. As a result, we are starting to limit screen time and taking breaks every hour or two to stretch and move around. People are doing periodic “digital detoxes” in order to focus more on live quality time with others and to reclaim time wasted on endless scrolling. Parents are limiting TV and screen time for their children and delaying the age that they can start watching. The market is responding to this trend with screen time apps, radiation-measuring devices, and glasses that protect against blue light. 

3. Inner wisdom guides self-healing.

Individuals are using their inner wisdom as a guide for making decisions about self-healing

In light of the fact that the CDC predicts that 50% of adult Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetimes and only 1% of health dollars are spent on public efforts to improve overall health, people are realizing that they need to educate themselves about health and take responsibility for their own well-being. (This has been the message of holistic-mindbody-healing since day one - 11 years now.)

Taking responsibility for one’s health and using intuition and inner wisdom for self-healing does not mean going it alone. It means being an active participant and partner in developing one’s wellness plan and integrating positive lifestyle habits with healing techniques that promote mind-body well-being. In addition to working with health practitioners, individuals are doing research, taking courses on how to use healing modalities such as yoga, chi gung, breathwork, meridian therapy, complementary medicine, and more. The trend to attend personal healing sessions and workshops, or to partner with a life or wellness coach (the #9 fitness trend according to the annual survey) will continue to grow.  

To address the cause of symptoms instead of just the symptoms themselves, trending wellness techniques include meditation, breath work, mindfulness, yoga,  chi gong, journaling, a holistic approach to reducing stress and improving a sense of physical and emotional well-being. It will be important to discern fluff and myth from the basics of staying healthy and getting healthy, knowing what health methods to use on one’s own and when to seek and use conventional medicine for the best outcome. 

Speaking of accessing inner wisdom and intuition, being outside in natural spaces may make accessing your authentic inner nature easier.

4. Time in nature will become part of self-care. 

A health and wellness trend for 2020 and beyond will be enjoying nature as a form of self-care. Doctors in Scotland prescribe nature outings to patients who are encouraged to listen to bird songs, take walks, and collect driftwood as ways to control anxiety, stress, heart disease and diabetes. The Japanese encourage citizens to enjoy forest bathing in parks and urban areas. Connecting to the trees in this way has been shown to reduce stress and increase the ability of natural killer cells to ward off disease.

People begin to experience the benefits of green spaces - the sense of awe and wonder, improved mood, connection with other living beings, and speedier recoveries - sometimes in as little as five minutes. 

5. Drinks get more functional and less “boozy”.

In the hope of being social without numbing out, spending a fortune on intoxicants, or dealing with hangovers, consumers will choose when and how much to imbibe and when to choose alcohol-free alternatives, including those infused with herbs, CBD and health-boosting supplements rather than booze. It is predicted that the “sober curious movement” will continue to grow as a wellness trend along with the $100 billion dollar functional beverage market. 

Nutritious beverages you can purchase or make at home without artificial sweeteners, unhealthy additives, or too much sugar are a great way to boost mind-body health naturally.

6. Fitness trends go high-tech.

With the help of personalized training plans, fitness trackers, home fitness equipment and on-demand videos, at-home fitness is gaining favor over trudging to the gym. Some new home gym equipment comes with streaming classes so you can cycle, row, or run your way through various terrains or have a trainer spur you on. 

More people than ever are tracking their fitness with smartwatches and activity trackers as technology becomes more accessible and less expensive. In their annual survey, The American College of Sports Medicine named wearable tech as the top fitness trend for 2020. It was followed by High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Body weight training, personal trainers and wellness coaching, yoga, functional fitness training, lifestyle medicine, and outdoor activities placed in the top 20.

See the top 20 fitness trends list here.

Speaking of technology, a new fitness app can now design your optimal vitamin blend. First you fill out a questionnaire that focuses on your activity and diet. The Nutrimatrix app syncs up with your fitness tracker, reads your responses, and takes your activity level into account. Then, every 30 days, you receive a vitamin blend  that supports your requirements and workout routine. 

7. Gut bacteria testing debuts. 

Gut bacteria will still be one of the top wellness trends for 2020 and beyond as we continue to learn how it affects our mental and physical health.  Trending topics include coffee enemas, cleanses, at home stool sample kits, probiotics, prebiotics, and diets that help and harm your gut residents. At home testing kits such as Viome and Thryve tell you which varieties of bacteria live in your gut and along with personalized nutrition and supplement recommendations to support your gut health.

8. Wellness Trends in Supplements

  • CBD "eveything" will contine to trend in the upcoming decade. CBD first appeared as a wonder plant compound for pain, but has been gaining popularity for skin care, stress-relief, and as a sleep-aid. In addition to beauty products, tinctures, and muscle balms, CBD has begun to make its way into food. Watch for CBD in apple cider vinegar, raw honey, and dog food. 
  • NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a well-researched supplement that has only recently begun making headlines as a cellular compound that aids body functions, down-regulates the aging gene, enhances cellular energy, repairs cells, and improves cognitive function. Our bodies naturally produce NAD, but production declines as we age.  For example, a 40-year-old has twice the level of NAD as a 60-year-old.  NAD supplements help you counter this decline.

9. Wellness Travel Trends

Do you need time to heal mentally, physically or spiritually? Does the thought of being guided into a healthier lifestyle by top trainers and chefs appeal to you? Are you longing to immerse yourself in a spiritual setting for a few days or more? Once only in the realm of the rich and famous, a wide variety of wellness retreats, day spas, and cruises are now available to suit most budgets. 

A new trend in travel is called painmoons. Painmoons are vacations you might take when you need to get away to grieve the loss of a loved one, get past a trying time or divorce, or relax after an illness.  

Other wellness trends in travel include momcations, fertility trips, menopause retreats, and preventative wellness holidays that incorporate sugar detoxes and education on how to avoid harmful substances and junk food. Insomniacs can go on a sleep performance retreat and city dwellers exhausted by the noise and frantic pace of urban life can enjoy peace and quiet at a silence retreat. 

Are you really strapped for cash or time? Design a home wellness retreat for yourself and/or a few friends. Treat each other to homemade healthy buffet, facials, and a foot massage. Or just take a day alone to enjoy a long nap, a soak in the tub, and a digital detox.

10. Lifestyles go plant-based. 

Wellness trends in "lifestyle medicine" include living a plant-based lifestyle instead of relying heavily on animal products and synthetic goods. This trend is growing thanks to the fact that people are becoming more mindful of the health and planetary benefits of plant-based diets and products. The vegan and vegetarian movements are growing, as is reducing animal consumption for wellness. 

Although supermarkets have sold meat alternatives for years, the selection expanded exponentially in 2019. To the delight of diners, casual restaurants put plant-based “meat” on the menu. This trend is likely to grow as we become a more eco-conscious society. Millions of animals will be spared and agri-pollution will be reduced as people reduce their demand for animal foods. 

Plant-based living isn’t just about food. The trend toward replacing disposable plastic straws and other products with those made from plants is growing. In the textile industry, furnishings and clothing made from bamboo, organic cotton, hemp, and other plants are becoming more popular.

11. Zero waste and sustainability

Although it may be impossible for most of us to live a zero waste lifestyle, we all can move in that direction to foster our own health and the health of all who call Earth home.

The Zero Waste movement and sustainability are two health and wellness trends that will keep growing as more people become aware of environmental concerns and the toxic plastics and chemicals that make their way into the body every day. Things you would never think of - tea bags, lined aluminum cans, jar lids, and clothing - contain plastic! All that plastic enters our bodies (some estimate up to two recycling bins worth in a lifetime), landfills, oceans, and water supply. Hot anti-plastic trends for 2020 and beyond include using beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap, silicone bags, plant-based straws, wool dryer balls, bamboo toothbrushes, and reusable shopping bags.

Consumers have begun supporting the Zero Waste movement and sustainability by signing petitions, reducing, reusing, and recycling material, purchasing responsibly grown and harvested food and household goods, buying and making “green” personal and household goods, and purchasing from companies that limit plastic packaging and waste in manufacturing. 

Agribusiness, the wellness industry, and consumers have also become aware of how the health of our soil impacts sustainability and the health of individuals and the planet. Healthy carbon-rich soil reduces greenhouse gasses and increases the nutrient-density of food. Some organizations are promoting the importance of regenerative agriculture and providing training for advocates, farmers, and ranchers. 

Educating yourself about health and wellness trends is a fun way to stay abreast of what is happening in the world of wellness. New research and products make it easy (albeit sometimes overwhelming) to try new approaches to self-care and well-being. 

Which wellness trends most interest you? Which ones have you experienced?

Not sure where to start on your wellness journey or which areas to support next? Your holistic self-care assessment will show you what needs the most attention and tips for creating well-being.  That is a trend that will never go out of style. Sign up here.

Continue Reading: Healthy Habits for a Lifetime 

Wellness Trends page created 01/2020

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