2017 saw it all – kombucha-based cocktails, protein-packed insect snacks and commuters on scooters - there’s no doubt more and more of us are starting to live healthier and balanced lifestyles. So what does 2018 have up its sleeve?
The wellness experts behind Balance Festival have laid out their predictions for 2018…
1. FIGHTING FIT
The boxing trend that swept the nation in 2016-2017 will be evolving for 2018 with a progression of interest in combat sports leading to a rise in classes specialising in martial arts, kickboxing and Muay Thai (a sport favoured by Ryan Gosling, enough said). These fast-paced, intense workouts engage the whole body while improving cardiovascular health, stamina and building lean muscle mass. Gone are the days of pounding out dull, repetitive miles on a treadmill, as combat sports require extreme concentration and agility. The perfect way to release city stresses.
Jamie Ray, Personal Trainer and Balance Festival Ambassador, says: “Combat exercises are a hugely exciting development in the fitness sphere. Not only are they a brilliant way to increase stamina, build muscle and improve agility, but by occupying the mind they provide a total release from the stresses of our everyday, chaotic lives.”
2. NEW RECOVERY RULES
Any trainer worth their salt will tell you that recovery is just as important when training as the workout itself. That’s why this year will see focus shift to advanced recovery plans, such as targeting the fascia - a connective tissue made mostly from collagen which wraps around the muscles, ligaments and organs in our bodies to control mobility. Keeping vital muscles and tissue, such as the fascia, in good condition reduces injury risk and heightens muscle mobility, enabling you to perform better, for longer.
Zanna Van Dijk, Balance Festival Ambassador, says: “We will soon be seeing a rise in the use of advanced recovery techniques usually reserved for athletes. Gyms will also be introducing recovery based classes and workouts, which focus on stretching, releasing and mobilising your joints and muscles.”
We’re all about balance, the clue’s in the name! That’s why we’re huge advocates of one particular fitness craze set for 2018: slacklining. While it might look simple, comprising of a tightrope elevated just a few inches off the ground, holding your balance on a slackline is no easy feat. This workout really engages the core and can be done anywhere (within reason!), making it the perfect park exercise. Just grab a line, gather your mates and set it up between two trees. It’s guaranteed Instagram-gold too, where do we sign up?
Ludovic Rossignol, Balance Festival founder, says: “A practice which has been around for generations, slacklining provides a simplistic, no-frills attitude to exercise which is so in-keeping with our ethos at Balance Festival. Exercise doesn’t need to be overly-complicated to be hugely effective, which is why slacklining is a brilliant way to tone up and restore some balance to your life.”
4. DNA FITNESS TESTING
Know your genes, change your life. Contrary to popular belief, science is now challenging just how bounded we are to our genes. Through DNA fitness testing, fitness goers can tailor fitness regimes and nutrition plans to optimise healthy living whilst constantly re-programming their genetic identity. In addition, companies like Atlas Biomed offer microbiome testing to assure gut-health is functioning in full-swing. With a need for quick fitness gains, 2018 will see a spike in this sort of testing.
5. SEROTONIN-BOOSTING FOODS
2018 will be the year the ‘Happy Meal’ is reinvented. We’ll soon be checking food labels for serotonin-boosting ingredients, such as tryptophan which is found in bananas, walnuts, salmon and green tea. Great for emotional stability, calmness, good sleep and a general state of wellbeing, serotonin is known as the “happy hormone”. Shorter, darker days and cold weather are all thought to decrease the body’s natural serotonin levels, making it especially important to fuel your body full of them in the New Year – how else are you going to smash through all those resolutions?
Jeffrey Young, CEO at Market Research Firm Allegra Strategies, says: “You are what you eat, the saying goes. While the staple healthy foods, plenty of fruit, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates, are well-known, the direct benefit and impact of serotonin-boosting foods is little known.”
6. INFUSED WATERS
While mint, lemon, ginger and coconut waters have been around for a while and their benefits widely-known, as a community of wellness-warriors we’re always on the hunt for more. This year, infused waters are stepping up a gear with innovative new products on the market such as alkaline water, plant water, cascara-infused water and electrolyte-enhanced water. One of our favourite new products is No1 Rosemary Water.
7. BOOCH IS THE NEW BOOZE
Dry Jan 2018 will kick start the shift from booze to booch, as we incorporate Kombucha into our daily diets. This fermented drink is a power player when it comes to gut health, helping you to maintain a strong immune system thanks to its high levels of probiotics and antioxidants which kill harmful bacteria. Kombucha is also made up of several of the same chemical properties as green tea, and boasts benefits to match such as increased calorie burn, reduced stomach fat and improved cholesterol levels.
8. PLANT-BASED DIETS
Plant-based diets are more popular than ever before and with reports of brighter skin, lower blood pressure and improved energy levels, it’s no wonder. This is a very interesting time for health food and the wellness world in general as we see more and more plant-based brands enter the market to meet a huge customer demand.
Zanna van Dijk, Balance Festival Ambassador, says: “Watch out for the likes of macadamia milk, jackfruit ‘meat’ and cashew ice cream, to name a few, hitting our shelves in 2018. With the rise of vegan, veggie and flexitarian diets in the UK, it’s only a matter of time before these products hit UK stores.”
9. SOUND HEALING
This year it’s all about sound healing; the ancient tool is said to use rhythm and frequency to shift our brainwaves into a state of perfect balance. The practice involves listening to percussive instruments such as gongs or tuning forks, which can place you into a meditative state - moving us from a normal waking state of consciousness (beta) to our relaxed consciousness (alpha) and even delta (sleep) where internal healing naturally occurs.
10. MAINSTREAM MEDITATION
Meditation and mindfulness are buzzwords for 2018, for all the right reasons! Yogis have been practising meditation for millennia, but the rest of us are just starting to catch on. Apps like Headspace have really helped to make meditation mainstream, and we’re beginning to reap the benefits as a nation. In 2018, we’re going to see meditation classes, studios and events cropping up outside of London and spreading across the country as the practice becomes more mainstream.
Zanna van Dijk, Balance Festival Ambassador, says: “Finally, we’re realising that meditation isn’t just for hippies. There is a huge body of evidence backing the benefits of meditation, not only including reduced stress but also increased mental clarity and functioning.”
11. SCIENTIFIC GAMIFICATION HEALTH TRACKING
We’re constantly on the look-out for ways to better ourselves. As technology advancements race ahead, we’re able to monitor ourselves more easily and conveniently in today’s acceleration society. Plus, who’s got the time to keep up with our hectic lives anyway? Well, there’s an app for that. Although there’s a huge array of fitness and health tracking apps already out on the market, we’re noticing a steady incline in more science-based applications - especially those that enable an element of gamification to challenge your mates. Game on.
Jeffrey Young, CEO at Allegra Strategies market research, says: “Adding a gamification element to your health tracking is always going to appeal to the competitive amongst us... That’s why apps like Nike+ have seen such enormous success. In 2018 we’re going to see more science-based health apps incorporating leader boards and ways to challenge your friends.”
12. BEYOND ATHLEISURE
Athleisure clothing bridges the gaps between functional, comfortable and work-appropriate clothing. Although athleisure has already been cat-walked down the city streets, in 2018 we’re expecting a revolution. Take for instance high street retailers Uniqlo – these guys are stepping up the athleisure game with their introduction of day-to-day business attires made from affordable and durable technology fabrics. After all, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
13. PLANT-BASED BEAUTY
In 2018 we’re going to see plant-based beauty becoming a lot more commonplace. Brands are embracing plant power when it comes to beauty products and treatments; from avocados for your face (not just your toast) in the form of avocado oils, to apple cider vinegar toners, to hemp body creams and turmeric natural skin glow, these are the new superfoods for the skin. Sign us up!
Claire Edwards, Balance Festival Event Curator, says:
“From start-ups championing natural beauty, to big brands who are cottoning on to plant power, we’re seeing superfoods for the skin cropping up in all kinds of beauty products. Plant-based living is moving beyond the kitchen!”
14. CORPORATE WELLNESS AND MINDFULNESS
Mental health awareness has recently exploded. It’s no longer a sign of weakness, but of bravery. With key CEOs recently opening-up about their own mental health, the workplace is increasingly becoming a judgement-free space. So much so, various companies are awakening to its huge prevalence and are looking for solutions to keep their staff healthy in mind and body. There’s no doubt 2018 will see an increase in corporate business mental health therapy programmes to aid today’s overwhelming levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
15. HEALTH-CONSCIOUS TRAVELLING
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In 2018, our travel plans will be centred around more than just white sand and cold cocktails. Our eyes are being opened to the health-conscious travel experiences that the world has to offer; from ‘Shinrin Yoki’ (forest bathing) in Japan, to a traditional Vipassana (silent retreat) in India. Hotels around the globe are waking up to this growing market of healthy travellers, and offering experiences to appeal to them.
16. WORLD FOOD HEALING SPICES
Our exposure to various cultures and traditions has padded out our knowledge bank and usage of healthy food spices. That’s why adaptogenic herbs and spices such as turmeric are taking off. Beyond food flavouring, these food additions are great for decreasing inflammation, improving gut health and restoring mental health.
17. HAPPY HIKERS
A big travel trend for 2018 is going to be back-to-basics fitness, in the form of hiking – an amazing workout that also provides mental benefits. Being outdoors surrounded by nature has been proven to reduce stress and increase positive mood. And the best bit is… anyone can do it. Just grab your rucksack and hit the trails – either in the UK (the Lake District is amazing for a hiking staycation) or further afield.