The last "Auld Lang Syne" has been sung, every empty bottle of champagne has been tossed in the recycling and we've got another great year under our belts. What now? It's time to look ahead and get ready for new beginnings, resolutions and fresh list of health and wellness trends, of course! After all, as these trends pick up steam, they'll also become more accessible so why not get ahead of the curve now? What better way to find new methods for crushing your goals?
To find out what's hot in 2019, we turned to the experts for the insider's scoop. Their predictions range from things you'll soon be stocking in your kitchen to the exercises you'll love to hate and everything in between. Get ready to see these things all over your social media feed.
For the Foodies
If you're unfamiliar with adaptogens, keep your eyes peeled—you're about to see them everywhere. Adaptogens are herbs and roots that improve the body's resistance to stress. And while the term "adaptogen" has been used since 1947, it has recently become a major buzzword. While there is not much scientific research on the effectiveness of various adaptogens, there is a growing body of integrative health enthusiasts who swear by them.
One adaptogen to look out for is ashwagandha root, an herb with calming, stress-relieving properties. To try it yourself, Jessica Dogert, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Chicago, Illinois, recommends getting your fix by buying some ashwagandha powder. "Add [it] to lattes, smoothies or homemade protein bars."
2. Alternative Flours
Why limit yourself to all-purpose and whole-wheat flour when you're about to see a whole range of options pop up on grocery shelves?
"With more people looking for keto, gluten-free, paleo, grain-free and plant-based [options], alternative flours are on the rise," says Kerry Clifford, M.S., R.D., L.D.N. "There are over 50 different flours out on the market." Keep an eye out for flour made from coconuts, chickpeas or bananas—just to name a few—and consider incorporating some of these into your next baking project.
3. Plant-Based Diets
"We saw this trend become more popular in 2018, but it's not stopping," says Clifford. "Brands are coming out with plant-based milks, cheeses, meat alternatives, burgers and more."
But what is a plant-based diet, exactly? "It doesn't necessarily mean that you don't eat meat," explains Clifford. Instead, it's a diet that consists of mostly plants, such as veggies, grains and nuts. The umbrella term could include anything from a vegan to a flexitarian as long as plants are the bulk of most of your meals, according to The Washington Post. Switch to this way of eating and thinking and you could find improvements in heart health, weight loss, better skin and more.
From shiitake to portobello, mushrooms will be an "it" food of 2019, according to Clifford. So much, in fact, that mushroom drinks and jerky are now a thing.
It's all thanks to the rich nutritional content of mushrooms. "They offer a range of [nutrients] like fiber, vitamin D, potassium and copper," say Clifford. "Mushrooms also chop up well into a [texture like ground meat], making them an easy addition to meatballs and tacos."
Let's Get Fit
1. Mobile Exercise Apps
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), exercise apps will be a top fitness trend in 2019. From mileage tracking to workout guidance, these apps offer hundreds of features and can be a gamechanger for your fitness routine. With apps for runners, strength training enthusiasts, at-home exercisers and more, if you can dream of a workout routine, there's likely an app to help you make your dreams come true.
To get a jumpstart on your 2019 goals, check out SparkPeople's health and fitness apps.
Another year and it seems high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is not going anywhere. HIIT continues to be popular in gyms worldwide and is attractive to those who want the biggest bang for their buck at the gym. The training, which includes shorts bursts of high-intensity exercise separated by quick intervals of rest, has a reputation for being hardcore and challenging. However, as with any workout, the right modifications can make the workout work for anyone. If you're brand new to exercise or have had injuries in the past, though, it's important to talk to your doctor before giving it a shot.
3. Group Fitness
We all know that group fitness isn't exactly brand new ('80s aerobics, anyone?), yet, in recent years, classes like indoor cycling and Zumba have become all the rage, and 2019 will be no different. And when you look at the benefits, it's easy to see why. Group exercise is an amazing source of motivation, support and social connection. Plus, with an instructor leading the way, you can be sure that you'll never be bored or confused about how best to target your muscles. What more can you ask for?
4. Fitness for Older Adults
These days, people are living and working longer, which means it's even more important that they stay on top of their health. As such, they're also exercising later in life, so it's no surprise that fitness programs for older adults are on the rise. The ACSM reports that the trend is #4 for 2019, and that's the quite the jump from 2018, when it was #9.
Luckily, it's never too late to break a sweat and there are many ways to stay fit well into your golden years. For older adults looking to improve their lives, functional fitness—a training that focuses on muscles and movements that mimic real-life activity—could be the key to longer agility and pain management. If you've noticed simple daily activities becoming more challenging, 2019 might be the year to work with a personal trainer to take control of your health and fitness.
5. Personalized Fitness
Long gone are the days of the "one size fits all" approach to exercise. In 2019, fitness will be all about customization.
"Wellness is personal," says Dina Aronson, M.S., R.D.N., a dietitian in Bloomfield, New Jersey. "Solutions need to be tailored to our goals, genetic makeup, lifestyle and preferences."
Aronson shares that this can be done by looking at our DNA. "Companies like Habit, DayTwo, InsideTracker and Orig3n analyze your DNA and provide targeted health recommendations," she explains. "[But if you're] not ready to shell out hundreds of dollars for these options, many free or low-cost mobile apps provide personalized solutions by using your goals, body type, age, health history, ethnic background and other data."
6. Digital Detoxes
Despite the popularity of mobile health apps, "digital detoxes" are also gaining traction. Folks are realizing that technology not only distracts us from real life, but makes us unhappy, too.
To do a digital detox, Dogert recommends establishing tech-free times, like the hour before bed or the first hour after waking up. "[You can also] designate tech-free places, such as the dinner table or your bedroom," she says.
Which 2019 health trend are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments, below!
About the Author Kirsten Nunez is a health and lifestyle writer, editor and author. She has a Master of Science in Nutrition and is currently based in New York. Kirsten spends her days writing articles and dreaming up healthy recipes.
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