The wellness industry is a $200 billion market growing 7 percent annually in the U.S., a large part of which is funded by millennials. From boutique fitness classes, to supplements, to self-quantifying technology like Fitbits, Millennials are investing in holistic practices and trendy products to subvert the symptoms that come with being the most stressed generation in history, a statistic reported by the American Psychological Association. Fueled by a dangerous cocktail of pressures at work and constant connection through technology, millennials, who make up 75% of the workforce, are burning out quickly. So while a meditation studio or sleep app might seem like remedies for soaring depression rates and high blood pressure, the reality is that millennials are reportedly skeptical of institutionalized healthcare and burdened by the complexities of health insurance, meaning they're frequenting their general care practitioners less and less.
Unsurprisingly, when we asked wellness experts to share with us what the landscape is projected to look like in 2020, western medicine certainly wasn't one of them; the idea of taking wellness into one's own hands is still largely popular as we enter the next decade. There's certainly nothing wrong with group fitness and meditating—these practices support our mental wellbeing as well as our physical makeup (and above all, spark happiness). But perhaps along with these trending self-care practices as we enter the new year, we can take control of our health through self-exams and routine checkups and screenings. After all, health is wealth.
Below, take a look at 2020's top wellness trends.
After years of pushing ourselves to the max in workouts, it looks like we're finally getting on board with fitness recovery. This doesn’t mean we’re dropping intense workout sessions altogether, but we're working harder to add a bit of much-needed TLC into the mix. “We're shifting our attention and our off-days to recovery options like cryotherapy, stretching, IV therapy, and acupuncture,” says Amanda Freeman, the founder and CEO of SLT and Stretch*d.
Personal trainer Nick Liguori says we’ll see more technology pop up in 2020 that helps us recover after intense workouts—much-needed relief for overworked muscles and joints. Recovery studios will be popular too, with lots of options to help us relieve tightness and tension, repair our bodies, and perform at our peak. Let this be the year you lean into foam rolling, stretching, massage, and more, whether at home or at a studio like Recover.
Alcohol-Free Drinks and Bars
There’s been a noticeable shift in millennials cutting back on drinking in the past year, and if the amount of non-alcoholic beverages on the market is any indication, this is going to continue into 2020. “There has been some research and polls indicating that young people are becoming more and more interested in non-alcoholic social events,” says Amanda A. Kostro Miller, a registered dietitian with Smart Healthy Living. “With this being known by beverage companies, I anticipate more non-alcoholic products coming to market and being offered in restaurants and bars.”
Don't be surprised if you see more completely alcohol-free bars like Getaway in Brooklyn, New York, as well as restaurants and bars that are ramping up their non-alcoholic drink options, like San Diego speakeasy Raised by Wolves. You’ll have plenty of choices on store shelves, too, like the mocktails from Curious Elixirs, non-alcoholic spirits from Seedlip, and drinks from Dry Sparkling, Tost and Kin Euphorics.
One thing we’re seriously thankful for these days is that squeezing in a solid workout doesn’t even require leaving the house. People cycled 2019 away with Peloton and streamed endless classes online, and it looks like 2020 will be no different. There’s no denying that Mirror (a literal mirror hung in your home that streams workout videos) and other on-demand technologies are infusing a heavy dose of convenience into the workout game.
“Thanks to technology, people are no longer tied to a set schedule or location to meet with a trainer,” says ACE certified personal trainer Victoria Brady. “Now they are able to easily access workout videos, reference guides, and receive 1:1 coaching and motivation right from their phone.”
Anna Kaiser, a personal trainer and founder of AKT, says that we’ll see a lot more options in 2020 as fitness influencers and studios launch their own content platforms. “Many companies are taking a nod from Peloton and investing real funds (multi-millions) into their at-home digital offerings,” she says. Obé, a celebrity-loved live and on-demand fitness class subscription service is another popular option.
“With the launch of concepts like Rumble [Training], we expect high-intensity interval workouts to continue to be a top workout choice in 2020,” says Yelp in it’s 2020 Wellness Trend Report. Rumble Training will have you seriously sweating as you split your time between strength training and running on custom Technogym Skillrun treadmills, packing a serious workout into 45-minutes. Other studios like Tone House and Barry's Bootcamp also deliver on the intensity front if you're curious to join the masses and give this kind of workout a shot in the New Year.
International Wellness Retreats
Vacationing simply to relax or explore a new destination is almost never a bad idea, but many travelers are all about infusing their vacation with a bit—or maybe a lot—of wellness these days. In 2020, wellness travelers will continue to be drawn toward trips that combine fitness and mindfulness, like Yoga For Bad People’s yoga retreats to stunning locations in Uruguay, Tanzania, and Cuba; Aro Ha’s wellness adventure retreats in dreamy Queenstown, New Zealand; and Mountain Trek’s wellness retreats designed to help you reset and avoid burnout in beautiful British Columbia.
You may have heard enough about the Impossible Burger or Beyond Meat by now, but plant-based foods are here to stay. We’ll see more plant-based options at restaurants and fast-food chains, more meat-alternatives in supermarkets and restaurants (Good Catch, a fish alternative, and plant-based "chicken" from Abbot's Butcher are two examples), and more meals cooked with whole, plant-based foods as interest in plant-based eating continues to rise in 2020.
“There is so much compelling research demonstrating the importance of having plants be a significant part of everyone’s meals, from reduced risk of developing chronic illnesses to improved management of diet-related chronic illness,” says registered dietitian Maya Feller. “Plant-based eating is here to stay.”
People will continue to take a stronger interest in the environmental impact of the food they put on their plates in 2020, which could mean learning more about where our food comes from, how it’s produced, and how it impacts the environment and other people. “Within the next year, we can expect to see companies put more of an emphasis on sustainable products that use less resources, have minimal impact on the environment, and produce less packaging and waste,” says Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist and doctor of natural medicine.
This trend will grow as people see how their food choices affect the environment and seek out ways to reduce their carbon footprint. “Eating more plants and purchasing animal products from more responsible and sustainable sources is something we can all do,” Feller says.
More CBD Everything
If it feels like you heard about CBD constantly in 2019, you're not alone. But this trend isn't going anywhere—according to Yelp trend expert Tara Lewis, CBD products and treatments will continue to be popular in 2020. CBD pervades so many areas of the wellness industry, from food to skincare to body work and beyond. In 2020 we'll continue to see an interest in CBD skincare products like body oils and salves from Lord Jones and Daughter of the Land, CBD massage treatments, CBD-infused food and drink products, ingestible CBD oil from Beam and other brands, Kush Queen CBD bath bombs… the list goes on.
As we saw with active recovery, treating our bodies with kindness will be a popular practice in 2020; another way of achieving this is through mindfulness. According to ClassPass’s 2020 Fitness Trends, "soul nurturing" is in next year.
“From guided sound bath meditations to breathing classes, workouts are no longer limited to physical activity,” says Nicole Wolfe, head of corporate programs at ClassPass. “As people look for tools to manage stress and anxiety, they’ll increasingly prioritize spiritual wellbeing through classes devoted to meditation, breathing, and stretching.”