I read a wide array of material, from the news and politics of the day (usually way too much) to pop culture (usually pretty disturbing) and medical journals and health studies (usually pretty boring). How I love sharing the findings.
I was reading recently about health trends for 2016 and some just may surprise readers.
Topping the list, perhaps not surprisingly, is wearable technology. Chances are, those who exercise already own some sort of device. They can track fitness level, heart rate and much more.
There are all sorts of them on the market and they are expected to continue to be popular. Apple Watch expects to sell more than 485 billion by 2018.
Weight training continues to make the list of fitness trends, but it is becoming increasingly popular to use little equipment to achieve similar results to bulky machines and weights. This means, once we are familiar with various exercises, we can easily do them at home or in a hotel room if traveling.
Fitness programs targeting older adults are becoming more of a trend. Since I hate exercising alone, I think this is a welcome trend when it comes to staying healthy.
Yoga continues to make the list and seems to reinvent itself every year. There are so many different types of yoga, ranging from beginners involving gentle stretches to advanced yoga for those who can twist and contort their bodies all sorts of ways.
Work site health promotions. I love that companies are really trying to offer their employees ways to get and stay healthy. This just makes sense as companies want their employees to be well and come to work.
In addition, the healthier employees are, the higher the quality of their work.
Exercise apps on the smart phone or device. These are great. Many are free or just $1 or $2. These apps lead various exercises and motivate users to engage often.
I have one that signals me to go through a series of exercises for just seven minutes a day. Even when my day is crazy, I can almost always find seven minutes.
Wellness travels. This is an interesting trend where people are seeking out destinations that cater to a healthy lifestyle. I love this because how many times do we throw caution to the wind when it comes to eating out while on vacation?
We tend to say, “Well, there is nothing healthy that tastes good and I am on vacation anyway.” Now we can find places to vacation that not only offer activities that promote health and wellness, but also strive to offer delicious and healthy food options.
Essential oils. While essential oils have been around for thousands of years, in our culture they are just gaining popularity with “regular” people.
Do some research to determine the benefits of various oils. I love putting tea tree oil in my diffuser to promote healthy breathing. It’s great for those with asthma or other breathing issues.
I just love the scent. Lavender is also a wonderful scent to use that is sure to relax and help relieve stress.
Gut health. It is hard to open a health-type magazine or book without reading about the importance of the health of the gut. Our guts are supposed to be full of good bacteria (gross sounding, I know) because our guts are the front lines for our immune systems.
Those who have taken antibiotics or are not a particularly healthy eater probably need a gut check — pun intended.
Even for those who are fairly healthy, a gut will appreciate more fermented foods (think sauerkraut and kimchi) and take a pro-biotic.
Plant-based everything. Even if we are not a vegan or vegetarian, most health experts will advise us eat more vegetables and less meat — even going meatless once or twice a week.
Gluten free is still a thing. More and more products are available without gluten and more frequently gluten-free options can be found on restaurant menus.
Experts say there will more than 2.3 billion dollars worth of gluten-free products sold by 2019.
One of my friends recently told me she wants to be more health conscience and feed her family the best quality ingredients, but it is just too expensive.
My health expert friends counter with this: It costs much more to be sick! Not just in dollar amounts, but also with regards to quality of life.
My advice is to start slowly. Add organic produce to the shopping cart. Try to exercise 10 minutes a day to begin with. Go on a nature walk for an hour this weekend.
Make sure to get enough sleep at night. Limit caffeine to just one cup of coffee a day. Eliminate or reduce sugar intake.
My best advice? Do some research. The more we know about what we are putting into our bodies — or feeding our families — the more positive changes we are likely to make.
Lastly, I wish all the very best in 2016. Happy New Year!
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.