Top Health and Wellness Trends for 2021
Wondering what fitness trends will stay around when the pandemic if finally over? Read five of them. Thankfully, they are great and improve our health and wellness with less effort and cost. Silver linings to the pandemic!
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by Jamie Spannhake
April 26, 2021
According to the annual Mindbody Wellness Index, more than 40% of Americans say the pandemic has negatively affected their physical health, and 53% say it has negatively affected their mental well-being. With this in mind, we wanted to know what health and wellness trends we can expect to see in 2021. What can we expect to help us feel better, mentally and physically, in this coming year?
Five Health and Wellness Trends to Try
Here are five health and wellness trends to look for this year and in the future — even when this pandemic is (finally) over.
1. Virtual Workouts
As the pandemic closed gyms and yoga studios, people began looking for ways to continue their workouts. Working out has been crucial for staying fit, but also to help us destress and maintain the energy required to juggle responsibilities competing for the same time and, suddenly, the same physical space. Many of us turned to virtual workouts we could do at home. According to MindBody Wellness research, more than one-third of Americans joined a weekly livestream workout, and about 40% worked out with a pre-recorded session in 2020.
After a year of virtual workouts, we have changed our fitness habits and are comfortable with our virtual workouts. Some of us have even bought gym-quality equipment.
In 2021, expect improved on-demand libraries of classes and more live-streaming sessions, some with social features. These new social features address the lack of community and connection that in-person workouts provide. For example, Peloton has created the ability to compete with other participants during both live and recorded sessions.
Also expect improvements to responsive workout platforms and equipment that adjust your workout to your abilities, much like an in-person trainer would do. For instance:
- - Apple Fitness+ makes workout recommendations based on your prior workout and real-time adjustments during your workout.
- - Tonal’s A.I. adapts to your strength and dynamically adjusts exercises and weight during your workout.
- - Nike is improving guided runs in its Nike Run Club to allow for metric customization for each run.
2. Shorter and More Creative Workouts
Pre-pandemic, we might spend an hour at the gym or in a fitness class. During the shutdown, as our lives became compressed in space, we began grabbing snippets of time for workouts whenever we could. Now we are mostly working out in 30-minutes or less per session. This has actually increased our fitness because we are more likely to work out when we don’t need to commit to a longer block of time. In other words, we are working out more often because we can fit in time for workouts more easily than in the past. Now that we have experience staying or getting fit in less time on more days, this trend is likely to stay.
Related Content: How to Fit a Regular Workout into Your Busy Day
We’ve also gotten more creative about what qualifies as a workout. In the past, long walks, playing badminton in the backyard or hiking through the woods might have been considered leisure activities. Since we were forced outside to connect with others, we have incorporated these types of leisure activities into our fitness routines. Because these activities are good for our mental and physical health — and they allow us to connect and have fun — they are here to stay in 2021 and beyond.
Related Content: Walk Your Way Through This Pandemic
3. Digital Detoxes
We have spent an entire year using our digital devices more than ever before. Which is a lot. Our devices — phones, tablets, computers, streaming services — have provided us with information, work, education and connection. For that, we are grateful. But they have also inundated us with negative news, information overload, and a sense of disconnection from those in our surroundings. I mean, has anyone else spent an entire day at home with their family, yet everyone is on their own device, earbuds in, on separate Zoom calls and no one is interacting with each other?
A wellness trend for 2021 is taking time for a digital detox. Whether it is a day, a week, or more, living without our devices is a great way to reset, restore and rejuvenate. Instead of engaging in social media, email, news watching, podcasts, and the like, we can take time for self-care, spend time in nature, read or work on creative projects like painting, writing or crafting.
Related Content: Unhappiness Hits a High: Five Things We Can Do About It
4. Making Mental Health Practices a Priority
One thing this pandemic has made clear is the importance of our mental health, and ensuring we take time to engage in practices that keep us emotionally and mentally fit — a kind of mental fitness. And like physical fitness, expect mental fitness to become a part of our regular routines in 2021. Because we are handling more responsibilities than ever as a result of the pandemic, depression and anxiety have increased in many people. Thankfully, society, and even our employers, are normalizing the issue of mental well-being and many are offering regular resources to their employees.
For example, many companies and organizations have ramped up their virtual programming to address wellness and mental health. Some have provided employees with meditation and wellness apps such as Calm at no cost. Meditation, mindfulness and other mental health practices have been trending over the past several years, and we can expect that trend to increase in 2021 and beyond.
Related Content: Five Reasons to Meditate
5. Building Virtual Communities and Connection
This pandemic has shown us that we need social connection and community for our mental well-being and that caring for others in our community is an important part of that connection. Research shows that buying things for others creates more feelings of happiness than buying things for ourselves. This is part of what is known as “community care,” which means connecting with others to support each other. In 2020, we spent a lot of time connecting and building communities virtually. Zoom grew by 355% and sees nearly 3 million participants daily. We aren’t just “zooming” for work, though, we are hosting events, coffee and cocktail hours, birthday parties, school plays and even weddings on video platforms.
Meetup has seen similar growth by hosting virtual events to allow like-minded people to connect.
And don’t expect these kinds of virtual connections and platforms to disappear when we are able to meet in person again. Rather, they will continue to supplement in-person connections and remain a tool people use to connect, especially for connections that would not otherwise be possible due to geographic distance, time constraints, or cost.
Expect this trend toward virtual communities to remain active throughout the year and well beyond.
A version of this post first appeared at Attorney at Work.
How do you as a busy professional find time for personal and professional success? I'd like the opportunity to support you in your journey. Email me or schedule a 30 minute call if you'd like a cheerleader, accountability partner, and guide to help you on the way.
I coach busy professionals so they can achieve more while doing less; so they can create the lives they truly want, lives that include time and space to work the way they want, to spend time with their kids, to laugh with friends, and to exercise every day: Time and space to do all the things I was told I couldn’t do as a successful lawyer. My work with clients is based upon the principles in my book, The Lawyer, the Lion, & the Laundry: Three Hours to Finding Your Calm in the Chaos, available at www.JamieSpannhake.com. Learn more about how we can transform your every day, and apply for my coaching program here.