The hardships and realities of 2020 have certainly changed how we think about our health.
How we work out, what we eat, how we manage stress, the supplements we take – all aspects of personal health and wellness have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Certainly, we are seeing a push for a healthier society as a whole. And perhaps for the first time, many now realize that health is not black or white. It’s not simply about being healthy or sick. Health absolutely exists on a spectrum.
Good health is a process, and through exploring the tiny world within our body we can optimize and improve our everyday health and wellness. How fit we are when we are “well” can dictate how well our body responds when we get “sick”. This fact has never been more clear than it was in 2020 as we saw the wide spectrum of possible outcomes resulting from a COVID-19 infection.
So, as we move through the beginning of 2021 – what does this mean for us? I think that many of the changes we first saw in 2020 will continue to shape our approaches to health and wellness in 2021. With a new year and a fresh start, here are four of the biggest trends when it comes to health and wellness.
1. Immune Health is Top of Mind
Our collective interest in immune health reached new heights in 2020, with COVID-19 being the obvious catalyst. It’s no stretch to imagine immune health continuing to be a big focus in 2021. We are now all more aware of the need to support and optimize our immune system, and this trend definitely shows no signs of slowing down. People will show growing interests in diets and foods for immune health, immune-supportive supplements, and exercise routines and wellness classes based on optimizing immune function.
Furthermore, 2021 is likely to see a deeper dive into the immune system and how it works. There will be more awareness of something very interesting – biomarker testing. Biomarkers are molecules that are found in the body – blood, fluid, or tissue. They can be measured to evaluate the risk for illness and disease. Some important biomarkers that are related to our immune system are those that are related to intestinal health.
You may have learned before that the mouth, nose, eyes, and skin are the initial first lines of defense that protect us from illness. However, our immune system is also regulated by our gut microbiome so its health should be a top priority. In fact, it is estimated that 70 percent of the body’s immune system resides in our intestines.
For 2021, this means optimizing your intestinal system should become a top priority. One way of doing that is taking a daily probiotic. Another is eating 25 grams of fiber every day or adding a daily fiber supplement. Also, you can reduce foods that cause inflammation (alcohol, refined carbohydrates, processed meats, artificial trans fats, and sugars). Add more leafy green vegetables and mixed berries. Olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish like tuna and salmon provide healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful in managing inflammation. Prepare your foods with spices that help quell inflammation, like turmeric, ginger, or garlic. You can also add these beneficial immune boosters through medical-grade supplements like Curcumin, Omega 3, and Resveratrol.
2. More Focus on Mental Wellness and Self Care
Unfortunately, COVID-19 along with the social isolation from loved ones and economic challenges that it brought took its toll on our collective mental wellness. A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found that 40 percent of U.S. adults reported considerably elevated levels of stress and mental health struggles associated with COVID-19.
That is why I think that supporting mental well-being in 2021 should be a top priority. I think the wellness and self-care trends of early 2020 will carry over and increase in popularity in 2021. This will include a focus on nutrients and botanicals for sleep and stress support, home teletherapy, and a growing interest in both meditation and mindfulness.
I encourage you to investigate these ways to optimize your emotional and mental wellness:
- Implement meditation and mindfulness
- Get regular sleep
- Perform 30 minutes of daily exercise
- Connect with other friends or family
- Set boundaries
- Do something you love once a day
- Ask for help if needed
3. Home Gyms and Online Exercise Classes Are Here to Stay
COVID-19 has certainly changed our relationship with exercise. Because many gyms closed during the pandemic, there was a surge in interest in home workout equipment, online exercise routines, personal fitness trackers, and home fitness apps – basically anything to help one stay fit while confined. In a December 2020 survey, only 15 percent of respondents said they now plan to use a traditional public gym as their primary form of fitness. That should not be surprising considering stay-at-home and lockdown orders in some states could continue into 2021. It seems that the future of fitness is in the home. Last year, there was over 50% growth in the use of digital fitness apps as more people focused on at-home workouts and outdoor activities.
4. A Digital Approach to Health
The pandemic has also caused a push in digital health trends. Telemedicine increased tremendously in 2020 and is likely to continue throughout this year. In fact, virtual visits have shown they are both practical and preferable for many patients and practitioners.
Technology is also making its way into the healthcare arena with increased utilization of digital health devices. One example is the Apple watch which saw a 75% increase in sales during 2020. It already has the capacity to monitor heart rate and blood oxygen level. Recently, Apple announced that it is partnering with several universities to research ways to recognize asthma, heart, and respiratory problems.
2021 will likely bring more new and innovative ways for us to focus on health and wellness. Rest assured that I will continue to follow these trends so that I can continue to offer safe, effective, and cutting edge treatments to help you look and feel your best!
Click here to schedule an appointment with Lumina Wellness & Aesthetics today.