From group training to ditching booze, here are 2019's top health trends

Every year, new health and fitness trends dominate the mainstream.

Functional fitness — exercise that mimics everyday activities like shovelling snow, for example — was all the rage in 2016, and in 2017, strength-based training grew in popularity.

In 2018, more people got into high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and bodyweight exercises.

But in the new year, Canadians will adopt a more mindful approach to healthy living. From cutting back on drinking alcohol to intuitive eating, here are the biggest heath trends of 2019.

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Wearable fitness technology

According to a survey published in ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, wearable technology will be the No. 1 fitness trend of 2019.

These devices include smartwatches, heart rate monitors and fitness trackers, which record things like calories consumed, sleep patterns and daily steps.

Fitness technology is also incorporated into smartphones, as iPhones can track steps and sleep patterns, for example, and apps like MyFitnessPal allow you to save nutritional information.

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Mindful eating

Will 2019 be the year we banish the word “diet” from our vocabulary? Probably not, but there will be more discussion of “mindful eating” and “intuitive eating” in place of dieting trends.

According to data from social media site Pinterest, there’s been a 475-per-cent increase in year-over-year searches for nutritional plans that incorporate mindful eating.

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Mindful eating is the practice of listening to your body and nourishing it the way it needs. To eat mindfully — as opposed to mindlessly — means to taste and enjoy your food, listen to hunger cues and use your senses to fully experience whatever you are eating.

The intention of mindful nutrition is to avoid food restriction and yo-yo dieting and adopt a healthier relationship with food.

HIIT training

HIIT was a top fitness trend of 2018, and it’s still expected to be popular in 2019.

Based on findings from the Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends, “HIIT was No. 1 in the survey for 2014 and 2018 and has been in the top five every year since 2014.”

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A HIIT workout typically consists of bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by short periods of rest, making it ideal for people who desire quick yet effective exercise sessions.

“HIIT exploded in 2018 with studios like F45, and people love it,” Alena Luciani, a Toronto-based fitness instructor, told Global News.

“I definitely think that’s going to continue in 2019, but I don’t know if it’s going to grow exponentially like it did this past year … I think people are going to start to be more aware of down time and recovery time.”

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Group training

While you don’t need a buddy to hit the gym, more and more people are choosing to work out with others.

According to the fitness trends survey published in ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, group training workouts like spinning and dance-based classes are growing in popularity.

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“Group exercise training programs have been around for a long time and have appeared as a potential worldwide trend since this survey was originally constructed ,” the survey’s authors wrote.

“However, it was only in 2017 that group exercise training made the top 20, appearing at number six, and number two in the 2018 survey.”

Luciani said that strength-based group training in particular will grow in popularity. She said that more people are complementing their cardio workouts with resistance training and conditioning classes, since they are realizing the importance of building muscle.

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“More people are seeing the results of strength-based work in terms of shifting their body composition,” Luciani said.

“It’s not just for losing weight but also for maintaining healthy joints and moving pain-free. More people are starting to realize they’re not going to look like the Incredible Hulk if they pick up a set of weights.”

Cutting back on alcohol

While most Canadians enjoy a cocktail, more folks will opt for alcohol-free drinks in 2019.

According to Pinterest data, searches for non-alcoholic drinks and sober living motivational quotes are up 746 per cent. The term “sober curious” will likely become more popular as well.

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“Sober curious” describes people who question their relationship with alcohol and deliberately minimize their alcohol intake — or cut booze out altogether — in an effort to improve their well-being.

Sober curious movements, like mindful drinking network Club Söda NYC, are likely to gain traction, too, as more people opt to find ways to socialize without alcohol.

All-natural protein bars

Protein bars have long been a part of the fitness world, but many options on the market are now focusing on all-natural ingredients.

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RXBARs, which are made from ingredients like dates, peanuts and egg whites, are popping up in fitness studios and grocery stores in Canada as an alternative to processed snacks. Larabars, made with dates, nuts, dried fruit and sea salt, are another form of natural post-workout fuel.

Luciani said the interest in eating “real food” extends beyond the gym. She said more people are mindful of what they’re putting into their bodies and seeing the benefits of consuming whole foods.

“If you’re eating things like fruits and vegetables, nuts, lean meats, beans and legumes, you’re not only getting the macro nutrients … but you’re also getting micro nutrients that help build our immune system and fight disease, for example,” she said.

“These things are so important and are a lot of the things we lack in processed food.”

Laura.Hensley@globalnews.ca

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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