Following 2020’s act of worldly upheaval, 2021 continued a trend of lingering uncertainty amidst cautious optimism. Sustainability surged in the public consciousness as COVID variants shook recovery efforts with their announcements. Mixed with supply chain woes, pressures from natural disasters and rising inflation, 2021 represented a year of resiliency and greater understanding. According to the Global Wellness Summit (GWS), this is what’s shaping the face of health and wellness trends in 2022.
Compiled by a team of experts in the fields touched by wellness, the 10 Global Wellness Trends of 2022 signal “anything but a ‘restart’ of 2019.” As people have more time to reflect on their living situations and how that plays into not just their own personal health, but the health of the world around them, what defines ‘true wellness’ will continue to change.
Below are the 10 Wellness Trends of 2022 that are impacting businesses today.
The Rise of Dirt-y Wellness
For 99% of human evolution, the lives of the population have been tied deeply to soil as foragers and farmers. Because of that, people were constantly being exposed to the extraordinary ecosystem of microbes that helped recycle nutrients from plants and capture vast amounts of atmospheric carbon.
Now, recent research has begun to unveil just how exposure to those microbial systems in the soil can benefit health and mental wellbeing. This, combined with revelations about how industrial agriculture can decimate soil ecology, has led to a rise in regenerative real estate and a push to break the barrier even further between indoor and outdoor environments.
Toxic Muscularity is Causing Many to Rethink Fitness
A growing body of research is finally making the case that body image is an issue for both genders. Toned abs and rippling musculature has been the defining idea of male fitness for quite some time, and it has had a negative effective on male mental health over the years due to how it impacts their perception. One of the main culprits for perpetuating this has been social media, according to experts who worked on the report.
Steroid abuse and performance enhancing drugs have been symptoms of this issue for quite some time, but now activists and new initiatives are driving a new male body positivity movement—much like the conversation about the promotion of unhealthily thin images among females—and it’s changing how we may view fitness moving forward.
From Well-Tech to Tech Wellness
There is no shortage of technologies aimed at improving health and wellness on the individual level. However, research over the course of 2021 has unveiled that these types of technologies can be harmful in many of the behaviors they promote. This is where a new technological wellness enters the fray, one that doesn’t simply remedy the harmful effects caused by technology, but one that places health at the focus of how and how often people engage with technology in the first place.
Redefining What it Means to Live as a Senior
With far more active lifestyles than cohorts in previous generations, today’s senior—and those to come—seek to never be defined by their age, nor be segregated by it. While many senior living communities have already begun to break down the barriers between generations, today’s seniors are expecting these practices to be the norm and not the exception.
Driven by these multigenerational game-changers, the future retires the ‘senior living’ concept and embraces intergenerational communities. Pocket neighborhoods, co-living models and more form the basis of this and continue to push the boundaries of intergenerational living.
Wellness Travel Should Seek to Engage
The great resignation, record setting retirements and global nomadism highlights the sheer commitment many have with maintaining healthier work/life balances and discovering themselves. This has led to many within the travel and hospitality industry preparing for the influx of intention-based travel by tapping into experiences that help those arriving seek purpose and growth in their lives.
This has manifested in the growing focus on experiences within nature, traveling to interact with more indigenous cultures, the rise of farm-wellness resorts, more art classes and many growing partnerships with academia.
AI, Apps and Wearables Are Making Headway in Home Health for Women
Tech giants and start-ups are seeking to address an underserved area in clinical health: that of chronic health conditions exclusive to women. A historically underfunded area of clinical study, conditions such as menopause, endometriosis and infertility have largely had little avenues for recourse, setting up a major gap in women’s health that persists to this day.
However, by leveraging technology that women can interact with daily, many manufacturers hope to be able to improve data collection so women can have better representation in clinical trials.
A Surge in Urban Bathhouses and Wellness Playgrounds
Whether its expansive public bathhouses or massive wellness-focused public parks, cities around the world are pursuing amenities that tackle the pandemic borne issue of unequal access to wellness. As such, many developments are being designed with the intent to make the acquisition of wellness, accessible, affordable and inclusive to all.
An urban bathhouse renaissance is underway with many saunas being built with more playful elements in mind while massive public ‘playgrounds’ merge nature and wellness in their own city sanctuaries. These include massive public getaways on piers, manmade beachfronts and more.
Self-Reliance is Making a Comeback
A growing wave of wellness practitioners find comfort and ease, not by having everything done for them, but in being able to cultivate skills to lead a self-sufficient lifestyle. The shake-up of regional supply chains, in tandem with a growing respect and understanding of more sustainable practices, has largely led consumers to this point.
As such, there’s been a rise in popularity of services that not only connect people with nature but teach them how to live in it. Gardening is no longer being viewed as a niche hobby, but is instead being actively pursued by entire generations, with the demand being exceptionally large in urban areas, to help everyone prepare for a shaky future.
Health and Wellness Coaching Gets Certified
Over $12 trillion is spent each year, globally, on health and wellness, and yet major issues continue to crop up year after year. A lot of it boils down to being able to enact change at a behavioral level, and professionals trained in being able to coach people into leading healthier, more beneficial lives has always been lacking, until now.
With standards growing fast, the arrival of these professionals comes at a unique moment as healthcare and hospitality concepts draw closer to one another for the sake of all-encompassing wellness. These professionals are helping bridge the gap, working with doctors, insurers, employers, resorts and even individual people to help achieve a better life.
Wellness Enters the Metaverse
Nebulous, curious, the drive for the metaverse has been borne out of many social forces in addition to the pandemic. However, the current active use cases for it, if it is to happen, mostly point to gaming. The world is constantly looking for new technologies to better engage and impact the health of people, and so, as the metaverse emerges, wellness must be considered in its implementation.