Last year was all about martial arts, moon rituals and recovery. This year, though, it’s all about healing cafes, date-ercise and ditching the gym. Yep, 2019 is about wellness, not fitness, and is currently valued at a cool £3 trillion, according to the Global Wellness Summit.
The wellness industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and has expanded by 12.8% in the last two years. It's set to expand even more now that we’re all attuned to a more mindful way of living. Intrigued to discover where you should be directing your energy over the next 12 months? Read on to find out what we’re flagging the wellness trends to follow…
Coffee shops are great for a caffeine fix, but what about if you want to relax a bit more? Kick back with no whirring grinders, juice makers or lines of laptops to distract you—just comfy cosy sofas, soothing music and scent diffusers. That’s where healing cafés step in. A trend that’s already taking off in Korea where places like Shim Story and Me Healing are leading the way by offering massage chairs, eye masks, heated beds and beanbags alongside your usual café fare.
An alternative to things like the meditation pods, you’ll find in cafes like YeoTown and spaces like inhere studio and Popnrest (special man-made meditation pods you can book into for 30-minute sessions), you can meditate but you don’t have to. They’re more about creating a home away from home experience to improve mental wellbeing. While we’re waiting for someone to take on the trend in the UK, there is a pop-up Healing Café already in existence.
Setting up at events and locations throughout the Midlands, the owners are also qualified crystal therapists if you wanted an extra energy boost with your cuppa.
Bored of your bog-standard dating experience and don’t want to sacrifice your boxing class for a potentially dire evening of idle chitchat? Then maybe your solution lies in date-ercise. It's already up and running thanks to Keith McNiven, personal trainer and Right Path Fitness founder. McNiven believes that fitness classes with a real motive are the way forward. And what better motivation than finding a potential plus-one?
Working in a circuit-style set-up, 12 men and 12 women meet a new training partner (or spouse!) at each station, and once the circuit is complete, you can decide whether they should jog on or you should hit the juice bar for a bonding session. Breaking all boundaries about them seeing you hot, sweaty and breathless, if you can lust over each other in lycra, imagine what a traditional date night might be like…
ECO-FRIENDLY ACTIVE WEAR
With the fashion industry under scrutiny for being so environmentally unfriendly, it’s only right that brands should start looking for more sustainable threads. It’s been bubbling away for a while, but new on the eco-friendly scene are Buff and its recycled polyester microfiber headgear made from clear plastic bottles. There's also SueMe, which offers durable underwear made from 95% Beech Tree pulp that’s sweat-friendly and Form Yoga, which has created the world’s first carbon-negative circular yoga mat produced from natural rubber and recycled plastic bottles.
Also, look out for seaweed-infused fibres. Rich in minerals, vitamins and amino acids that benefit the skin, they also create a silky sheen and cashmere-like softness ideal for practices like yoga.
News just in: Women are ditching the gym for more traditional forms of exercise such as swimming, running and cycling. The three activities we channelled when we were children, the Decathlon Activity Index 2018 revealed that less than half the women surveyed used the gym regularly, instead preferring the pool or outdoor biking.
Yoga and Pilates also proved popular, but with services like My Method launching that offer personalised sessions in your own home for both practices (think Deliveroo for the Downward Dog), it’s another blow for gyms that might be struggling for sign ups.
Interestingly enough, workplace wellness is also on the rise. Now worth over £30 billion, companies are investing time, money and effort into what they can offer staff. From treatments to yoga classes to inspirational talks and subsidised health food options, why would you pay a monthly fee for somewhere when you don’t have to leave the building?
We’re obsessed with protecting our skin from pollution, but there’s a growing focus on what you’re inhaling in 2019. WGSN is touting clean air as the newest wellness ingredient because it’s becoming increasingly harder to come by. And it’s not just outdoor pursuits that are leaving our lungs tarred and toxic. Gyms, where CO2 levels outweigh oxygen levels, are under attack. That’s because the majority of gyms recycle used air rather than pumping in fresh air and there’s particle matter from mats and bags that are being pummelled and pounced on.
Add the fact that we breathe harder when we exercise and bypass the body’s natural filters by using our mouth rather than our nose and it doesn’t sound so far-fetched after all. The answer is air-filtration systems, micro-free apparatus and even living walls and plants to bring oxygen into the space (Studio 26 in NYC already has two Instagrammable living walls in situ). Plus, there’s the advantage that being amongst foliage promotes those happy pheromones, so you’ll feel better physically and emotionally. We're expecting to see this trend popping up within new fitness studios in the UK in 2019.
Last year, Asics promoted mindful running with its Blackout Track that featured no scenery, tech or distractions but encouraged you to run in darkness. Now, it’s all about form. A subject that’s been big in weights and classes like barre and Pilates, attention is now on running. At Track Life London, trainers coach you on speed, technique and breathing; Pullman Hotels & Resorts are launching a technical running club; and Sweat IT London is using "parachute mode" on its treadmills to allow users to practise and perfect their running technique with instructors as if they were pounding the streets. Relying on your strength and body power, there’s even a harness attachment for the ultimate resistance workout.
Nootropics, protein powders and plankton bloom are what you need in your supplements if you want to get ahead of the game. That’s because the oceanic elixir contains 78 electrolytes (which, to give you a comparison, coconut water contains five!), so all of those minerals that get lost due to modern farming methods are replenished.
Once you’re all topped up, your body and your brain will function better, and you’ll find you can train harder when you work out. That’s because it’s been found that one of the reasons athletes start to fail is because their brains are dehydrated and is why Rafa Nadal downs a sachet of Totum Sport (£18) into each of his tennis tournaments when he starts to flag. Don’t consider yourself an elite athlete? Fair play, but you can still get your plankton perks. Cellnutrition Quinton Isotonic (£36) helps cells rebalance, ups your immunity levels and can even improve skin tone and texture. We’re calling it: This could quite possibly become the new adaptogen on the block.
Opening Image: Free People