2018 had no shortage of wellness trends. So how do you separate a momentary fad from a movement? To determine the buzziest health and wellbeing trends worth knowing, we tapped four different experts across a variety of fields, from fitness and food to meditation and holistic healing.
Ahead, celebrity trainer Erin Oprea shared the heart-pumping exercises that everyone was doing (and why they're so good for you); holistic nutritionist Carly Johnson Brawner broke down the latest in healthy eating, from the keto diet to Whole30; the DEN meditation teacher and Reiki master Kelsey Patel explained why everyone was talking about conscious consumption and social media detoxing; and finally, herbalist, acupuncturist, and founder of Vie Healing Mona Dan shed some light on holistic remedies and self-care.
Below, the wellness trends everyone was talking about in 2018.
1. Dancing: "I'm seeing a lot of fitness classes that involve dancing and having fun," says Oprea. It's a great way to get both cardio and strength training. Oprea also points out that because it's such an enjoyable workout, you're more likely to keep doing it.
2. Orangetheory: This buzzworthy workout is based on the science behind excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. It's all about maintaining a specific heart rate to stimulate your metabolism while increasing energy so you keep burning calories after the class is over. "[It's] all over the place these days," Oprea says.
3. Kickboxing: While it's far from new, more and more studios are creating kickboxing classes for a fun group exercise. It's also one variation of a high-intensity interval workout, which Oprea says "has been shown to be more effective than other approaches since they combine cardio workouts with strength training in ways that confuse your muscles and engage your mind."
4. Tabata: A personal favorite of Oprea, this high-intensity workout is quick and effective. A standard Tabata exercise lasts just four minutes and calls for 20 seconds of hard work followed by 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds. You'll do simple moves like push-ups, squats, and burpees, but the interval structure will leave you sweating.
5. Retro Activewear: When it comes to workout attire, Oprea says the trend of 2018 is to look to the past. "I'm seeing a lot of retro in activewear these days—leg warmers and even bomber jackets—and Adidas seems to be the brand to watch," she says.
6. Intermittent Fasting: "Everyone I work with is interested in intermittent fasting," Brawner says. This diet is about restricting the times at which you eat, not necessarily the actual food. "Intermittent fasting looks different for everyone and can consist of 12-hour fasts (while sleeping), short eating windows during the day, or 24-hour fasts a few times a week or month," she explains.
Intermittent fasting is thought to decrease inflammation, oxidative stress, cholesterol, and the risk of cancer, while increasing metabolism, blood sugar control, and the ability to burn fat.
7. The Ketogenic Diet: Commonly known as keto, this diet is designed to use burning fat as fuel. It's thought to benefit brain health, aid appetite control, support weight loss, and help with insulin sensitivity. "I generally recommend a cyclical ketogenic diet, where one will go in and out of ketosis to create metabolic flexibility," she says. However, Brawner notes that this can be a restrictive diet that's difficult to follow.
8. Whole30: "I've seen the Whole30 program help people lose weight, strengthen their relationship with food, break up with sugar, and cut out processed food," says Brawner. "It's something I highly recommend to people who want to learn more about a real food lifestyle and evaluate their personal eating patterns."
9. Pili Nuts: Matcha may reign supreme on the list of trendy health foods, but the next food to watch for is pili nuts, according to Brawner. "They contain all amino acids, which makes them a complete protein and they have the most magnesium content of any nut."
10. Cannabidiol: CBD oil has been gaining popularity lately thanks to new research, legality, and accessibility in America, Brawner explains. It's the natural compound found in cannabis that has been connected with a variety of health benefits, including its ability to relieve pain, depression, nausea, and inflammation, according to Brawner.
11. Clean Beauty: "There is a trend toward green beauty and keeping products clean," says Patel. It's about supporting skincare companies that carefully source ingredients and empower their employees. "Many people have been focused on what's going into their bodies, and now people are recognizing that what goes on their body is also being ingested into their body through the skin, which is our largest organ."
12. Conscious Consumption: "We're seeing a focus on what we consume that's beyond calories or shopping organic," says Patel. "It's a deeper look into how foods are grown and raised, the love and energy put into them, and how that will, in turn, affect our well-being." This is also connected to the buzzworthy idea of gut health. "There's a shift happening where people are realizing that what we eat can affect not just our weight, but our gut health and mental well-being."
13. Social Media Detoxing: While technological advances happen every day, many people are looking to escape their high-tech devices. "The negative impact of social media has become apparent, and wellness influencers are speaking out about the need to unplug from our devices and stop comparing—a side effect of social media that has become toxic," she says.
14. Finding Community: "There's an increased tendency to want to truly connect," Patel says. It's the in-person interactions with friends and like-minded individuals that people are searching for now more than ever. "Whether that's in a women's space or circle or simply in-person gatherings with friends, the emphasis is on connection."
15. Mindful Experiences: This year has seen a major uptick in people seeking out wellness experiences, according to Patel. Think wellness retreats, spas, and meditation studios. "While the trend here isn't new, more and more wellness- and mindfulness-focused experiential businesses are popping up and helping people create space for themselves."
16. Chlorella and Cilantro Oil: "More and more this year, I'm talking about chlorella and cilantro oil," says Dan. These powerful herbs are growing in popularity thanks to their possible ability to reduce mercury levels in the body, according to Dan.
17. Acupuncture: "When I first started in the field, there were many people questioning so much about acupuncture and doubting their beliefs in its nature," explains Dan. "Now patients go to their general practitioners, get diagnosed, and come to us to relieve them from their diagnosis." You can use acupuncture to treat anything from autoimmune disorders to stress and insomnia.
18. Facial Cupping: You've likely heard of cupping for soothing sore muscles, as professional athletes often sport the circular remnants of the treatment on their bodies. However, Dan says facial cupping is one trend to be aware of. Fortunately, this practice won't leave bruising circles on your face. It's done with a small suction cup that gently lifts facial tissue to increase blood circulation and assist in lymphatic drainage.
19. Gua Sha: In the simplest terms, this Chinese practice involves a therapist using a flat tool to apply pressure across the skin in order to stimulate lymph nodes and boost circulation. While it may sound intense, the ancient technique has been gaining popularity as an effective facial massage.
20. Jade Rolling: Similar to facial cupping, using a jade roller can do wonders for eliminating puffy skin. These pretty products are often inexpensive and can easily be used at home as part of your skincare routine.