Wellness is a bit of a (healthy!) obsession for me, to put it mildly. It’s at the heart of everything I do in my job as editor of Women’s Health. But it’s also an integral part of my every day, from the moment I wake up and strap on my Apple Watch and brew myself a Bulletproof coffee until I rub CBD-infused moisturizer on my tired legs and crawl into my sleep-optimized sheets at night. Wellness is no longer just two pillars (fitness and nutrition, full stop); it’s infiltrating every aspect of our lives: sleepwear, travel, even home decor. And it’s constantly shifting and evolving, giving women the opportunity to discover what works best for them, experiment with new trends, and really own their personal well-being. Here’s what excites me most right now.
At-Home Fitness Is…Chic
Gone are the days of a dusty old pulley machine and sad dumbbells sitting forlorn in the corner of your basement. Driven by the demand for convenience and an elevated fitness experience, companies are offering sleek machines with built-in AI that give you a leveledup home-fitness experience (a market estimated to be worth $14 billion). I’m a fan of Mirror, essentially a streaming fitness platform masquerading as a chic full-length mirror; Peloton almost needs no introduction (its $2,200 bikes and $4,300 treadmills continue to create home-workout devotees); Tonal is a strength-training equipment system that uses intelligent levers for resistance; Tempo is a freestanding touch screen that houses weights, streams live and on-demand classes, and has 3D sensors that count your reps and provide real-time form correction.
Recovery Has Become the Main Event
It used to be the part of your exercise routine that you knew you should do but skipped anyway. Now, between DIY recovery with luxe gadgets (like TheraGun and Hypervolt), boutique stretching studios (check out Stretch*d and Outer Reach in New York), and spaces focused entirely on the après part of your workout (infrared saunas, dry flotation therapy, NormaTec compression leg sleeves, etc.), the options for giving your body a little love are endless—and worth it. Even mass-market gym chains like Equinox are serving up restorative stretch sessions on their daily group-fitness-class menus.
Energy Medicine Is Mainstream
When an energy practitioner is onstage at Davos (the World Economic Forum in Switzerland), you know this softer side of health is officially a permanent part of our wellness lexicon. Here’s the gist: By manipulating energy channels in our bodies, practitioners leverage modalities like acupuncture, Reiki, aromatherapy, and even crystal healing therapy to help us feel our best physically, emotionally, and mentally. Adele reportedly said that she performs better when she holds crystals, and Kim Kardashian West visited a local energy healer while on vacation in Bali. Alt treatments—like acupuncture—are becoming way more accessible too. Ora recently opened in New York and offers acupuncture treatments for as little as $50. WTHN, also in New York, markets itself as an ultramodern take on acupuncture and lets you add LED light therapy or cupping to your treatment cart. Nearby, the Well is a (primarily) members-only wellness haven where you can see a doc, a healer, or another energy practitioner in between bites of your coconut-milk-and-Ceylon-cinnamon-chia-pudding bowl at the clubhouse’s restaurant. It’s no wonder the global complementary- and alternativemedicine market is expected to generate a revenue of $296 billion by 2027. So, yeah, the woo is here to stay.
We’re Optimizing Our Circadian Rhythms
Sleep is magic; we know that. It’s why so many Silicon Valley startups are hawking sound machines, smart mattresses, REM trackers, and even high-performance pajamas! But the way we live now doesn’t exactly lend itself to working with your natural body clock. We’re more stimulated (light! screens! 24/7 work!) than ever before, and our slumber is, frankly, low quality. But the future of better sleep lies not just in getting more of it but also in working with your own circadian rhythm to optimize your personal body clock (using light to fight, say, jet lag), according to the Global Wellness Summit. Think of it as smarter sleep. A tip: Your circadian rhythms thrive on consistent wake times, so try to stick to the same ones during the week and weekend.
Fertility Has Moved to the Forefront
The message of preventive health is trickling into the family-planning space, as companies like Modern Fertility encourage women to think about their reproductive health the way they do other health issues: in a more proactive way. Kindbody is a medical startup that combines fertility, gynecology, and wellness services in airy (read: pleasant and non-intimidating) offices in New York, San Francisco, and L.A. Essentially, all of your needs are under one umbrella, with fertility treated just like the other categories. Thanks in part to brands like these, conversations are shifting from “Do I want to get pregnant?” to “How do I want to get pregnant?” The global fertilityservices market—which includes IVF, surrogacy, and insemination—is expected to expand from $20 million in 2018 to $41 million in the next eight years, according to the market-research firm Data Bridge.
A “Vacation” Doesn’t Mean What It Used To
Beer on the beach while you recline on the sand? Fun for about 30 minutes. Consumers are hungry for healthier wellness-inspired travel, and companies are delivering. Whether you want to take intensive yoga in Tulum with your favorite influencer or stay at a massmarket hotel with a healthier bent, better getaway options are everywhere. Westin hotels, for example, offer running concierges, healthy Sleep Well meals, and TRX systems in their gyms. For a more intimate getaway, celeb-favorite wellness guru Taryn Toomey offers luxe retreats all over the world, with activities ranging from morning meditation and nature walks to daily turtle releases and clay-pigeon shooting. This trend is definitely here to stay: Wellness tourism grew from a $563 billion market in 2015 to $639 billion in 2017, which is more than twice as fast as growth in tourism overall. Buh-bye, beach beer. Hello, beach boot camp.
MODEL IMAGE: MARKUS HENTTONEN/THE LICENSING PROJECT; PLOSSER: COURTESY OF THE SUBJECT ■