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4 Key Health and Wellness Trends in 2021

By Neesha Kanaga

Published 6 January 2021

‘The new normal’ has become a popular turn of phrase throughout 2020. This has been a year that has changed entirely how we work, communicate, socialize, and exercise.

With 2020 drawing to a close, we have seen a great deal of change to health and wellness trends, including a huge shift in workplace wellbeing and the importance of employee wellness opportunities.

The pandemic has seen the closure of workplaces, both permanently and temporarily, including offices, small businesses, indoor fitness centers, and leisure facilities. As a result, there has been an inevitable rise in financial uncertainty, social isolation, stress, and decreased mental wellbeing.

However, over the course of 2020, we have also seen opportunities to adapt to the current situation; finding new ways to work and live and becoming more creative in how we overcome limitations posed by the pandemic.

So, which health and wellbeing trends have we seen emerge this year? And what can we expect for 2021?

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1. Unprecedented Technological Advancement

The utilization of technology across businesses and in our personal lives has given the element of connection back to how people work, socialize, and exercise. More companies are utilizing systems such as Skype and Zoom, which has reduced the need for commuting, and allowed for more remote working while keeping us connected.

According to a survey commissioned by leading global fitness membership brand ClassPass (and conducted by OnePoll), 78% of professionals have experienced ‘workplace burnout.’

It also cited that professionals believe it is their ‘employers responsibility to provide tools and resources necessary to balance stress.’

With the rise in flexible working (including working from home and altered working hours) and a reduced need for travel, people are finding a more positive work-life balance, in turn helping to increase workplace productivity, reduce stress, and improve mental and physical wellbeing.

Technology has not only allowed us to change how we work, but it has also afforded us many opportunities to exercise in our own time and on our own terms. This year, more people than ever invested in wearable smart tech and downloaded workout apps on their phones.

With the increased development in, and access to, apps, home workouts, live Zoom and Instagram offerings, and pre-recorded classes, we have more options and more time to experience life in real-time, albeit digitally.

This can now be used as a workplace incentive, coupled with remote working, to help create ease when focusing on wellbeing.

2. Realizing the Benefits of Holistic Wellbeing

In the same survey conducted by OnePoll, it was found that over half of the professionals surveyed said they would be more inclined to take a job based on the benefits and perks offered.

Throughout 2020, mindfulness has become a much more familiar term– with more people understanding the importance of both mind and body wellness.

Classes such as stretching, yoga, and meditation have become more popular, with many companies now offering access to mindfulness courses, financial support toward healthcare, incentives such as Gym Flex and Class Pass, and face-to-face coaching courses.

3. Fitness Trends: The Rise of Data

The development of new fitness apps, pre-recorded classes, boutique fitness, home workouts, and outdoor classes has given more independence to people looking to improve mental and physical health.

Workouts classes can now be conducted from any place, allowing people to be less dependent on gym memberships or physical facilities. This has allowed corporate wellness to adapt as well, by becoming more creative with their health and wellness offerings.

These are also trends we can expect to see continue to develop in 2021. The move from in-person to virtual teaching, courses, and therapy has allowed more access to services such as personal training, cognitive behavioral therapy, and life coaching.

Many fitness facilities now offer virtual online memberships – coupled with in-facility ones – and have become part of fitness programs (such as ClassPass) that offer particular bundle services to workplaces.

Another Digital trend emerging is artificial intelligence. Apps, such as Freeletics, compile individualized coaching and training plans, giving a further alternative to gyms.

In an interview with data and information channel ISPO, Simon Alger, who is the Lead Data Scientist with Freeletics, stated:

“… the main benefits for users are access to training planning, monitoring and even motivation at a fraction of the current cost.”

The Peloton bike is another prime example of flexible, tech and data-backed training. Spin classes are conducted via the internet, connecting class members around the world, and allowing users to compete with each other at their own time.

4. Customization and Target Group-Oriented Training

According to ISPO, ‘individualization is advancing in all areas of life… all-around fitness studios will continue to exist. Nevertheless, boutique and micro studios with tailor-made offers are attracting more and more customers.’

The article states the importance of acknowledging corona risk groups, such as senior citizens, within developing health and fitness industries. Fitness-minded businesses should make them a core target group for risk-free at-home training using digital advances.

However, customization doesn’t stop at at-risk groups; bespoke fitness trends becoming more popular around the world, with people preferring a tailor-made experience.

Main Takeaway for Health and Wellness Trends 2021

Ultimately, we have become more conscious of the importance of both physical and mental health. We’ve also seen the ability technology has to create opportunities for a more flexible attitude to work and wellbeing.

Hence, these are trends we should also expect to grow further in 2021.

Neesha Kanaga

Neesha is a copywriter and wanderer who currently finds herself bound to the weather-challenged Netherlands due to the unforeseen circumstances of 2020.

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