Top health, fitness and wellness trends for 2015
Abandon bad habits and adopt the latest health, fitness and wellness trends for 2015. Experts disclose what’s hot for the year ahead
1. Mindful eating
This ancient practice is now a modern trend. "Mindful eating means choosing foods with deliberate intention, being aware of taste and texture and chewing your food until it's a paste," says Joy McCarthy, a Toronto-based certified holistic nutritionist and the bestselling author of Joyous Health. Your enjoyment of meals will increase, and you'll be more likely to maintain a healthy weight due to slower eating and the consumption of fewer calories. Your digestion will thank you, too. "Mindful eating allows digestive juices to properly break down food," says McCarthy. This improved digestion will result in increased energy and optimum nutrient absorption.
2. Express workouts
Canfitpro, Canada's largest certification organization for fitness professionals, points to quick workouts (20 minutes or less) as a top trend for 2015. "[Exercise] is more about quality than quantity," says Amanda Vogel, a Canfitpro-certified fitness instructor and writer from Vancouver. "If you work hard for 20 minutes, you can get as much - and sometimes more - accomplished than if you meandered through an hour at the gym." For best results, make sure your exercise bursts feature moderate or vigorous activity. "It's not just a stroll around the block," says Vogel.
3. The decline of dieting
In 2013, the NDP Group - an American market research organization - disclosed that fewer people were dieting. Instead of food deprivation, individuals were turning to more balanced, realistic approaches to losing weight and maintaining good health. This trend continues to grow. "People are stopping the endless cycle of dieting because they realize it doesn't make them feel joyous," says McCarthy. "Diets don't work." People are getting the message that nourishing foods, daily physical activity, positive thinking and smart lifestyle choices lead to a happy, healthy body. "As a result more people are eating and living well without dieting," she says.
4. Wearable technology
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) believes that the popularity of wearable technology (calorie trackers, step counters, sleep monitors) will soar in 2015 with the release of Apple's highly anticipated iWatch. With wearable tech, healthier life choices are at your fingertips. "Tracking your activities illuminates how much or how little activity you have in a day. A tracker provides actual stats from which you can build on," says Vogel. This information can provide motivation to move more, consume fewer calories or get additional sleep. "The more attention you pay to healthy behaviours, the more likely you'll improve on them," she says.
5. Avoiding artificial sweeteners
An Israeli study published in September 2014 found a potential link between artificial sweeteners and obesity. These preliminary findings echo McCarthy's belief that artificial sweeteners aren't the healthiest option. "My philosophy is 'eat real food'. Foods made in a lab are not meant for our bodies," she says. "I recommend that people focus on what their food is made of by reading the ingredients label, and to eat food that comes from nature." Natural alternatives to artificial sweeteners include honey, maple syrup and date sugar.
6. On-demand workouts
ACE predicts that video on-demand workouts in gyms, at home or on the go will become more popular in 2015. "At home, it's as simple as becoming a member of an on-demand website and then pulling up a workout whenever you want," says Vogel. "You can also load them onto mobile apps so you can work out without Wi-Fi. One service that I like is FitnessGlo.com." To ensure that your on-demand workout is safe, look for professional qualifications in the trainers' bios.
7. Functional fitness
Want to adopt a workout that mimics every day movements? Try functional fitness. Canfitpro says that this ongoing trend will flourish during 2015. Instead of working one specific muscle group at a time, functional fitness tests several muscles during a single movement. Push-ups, planks, squats, and lunges are part of the functional repertoire. "These exercises mimic how a person might move in everyday life," says Vogel. Individuals following the functional fitness protocol may see improvements in posture, and injury prevention.
8. A return to full-fat foods
Low fat foods, your days are numbered. 2015 sees the return of good fats, an essential part of a healthy diet. When you skip good fats or choose low fat foods, you may suffer from dry skin, sore joints and inflammation. And forget that notion that low fat products are better for you than their full fat counterparts. "Low fat products are usually full of sugar, artificial sweeteners or other chemicals to make them taste better," says McCarthy. "I always recommend full-fat food products because you feel fuller faster and you need less to feel satisfied. A little goes a long way," she says.
9. HIIT (high-intensity interval training) with recovery
HIIT popularity continues to grow, but ACE says that recovery time following an intense workout is key to its success. "People have been misusing HIIT by doing too much of it and not giving themselves adequate recovery," says Vogel. Not only do you have to include recovery spells during your HIIT workout, but you should also include rest days between vigorous HIIT sessions. "I like ACE's guideline of HIIT two times per week with at least one rest day in between HIIT workouts," she says. Recovery days lower your risk of injury or burnout, making you more energetic for your next workout.
10. A daily dose of green space
McCarthy recommends a 2015 wellness trend that's free, and good for the soul - a daily does of green space. "Research shows that nature lights up areas of the brain associated with love, empathy and pleasure," she says. "Most people spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, so get outside for a brisk walk every day. You'll feel joyous when you adopt this health habit."