For those who are resolving to make their health a priority in 2016, there are a wide variety of new trends plus a host of tried-and-true healthy behaviors that can help keep motivation high and goals on track.
London Drugs Pharmacist, Jason Chan-Remillard, points out some of the top wellness trends for 2016 and offers some tips for adopting healthy behaviors in the New Year.
1. Advanced Wearable Health Technologies
Wearable tech is everywhere right now and will gain even more traction in 2016 with new features and functionality. Everything from fitness trackers to smart watches and even heart rate monitors are being used to analyze physical wellness.
“These devices are changing the way we plan and manage our workouts, monitor our health and can help motivate us to achieve our wellness goals,” says Chan-Remillard.
London Drugs sees wearable tech as such a critical component of health that they specifically trained their Patient Care Pharmacists on wearable tech options and began hosting Health Tech demo days for customers in their stores. Pharmacists also lead by example in this area, wearing the Fitbit HR during London Drugs’ Nutrition & Healthy Weight Clinics.
“Understanding wearable technology helps us promote wellness. It is now an integrated component of monitoring health and it is a technology we know helps many of our patients,” says Chan-Remillard.
Fitbit earned the spot as the top app in the App Store over Christmas. The newest Fitbit, Fitbit Surge, can not only count steps, but also tracks pace, distance, elevation climbed, heart rate, calories burned and is even able to sync to the Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Scale.
Other wearable tech products like iHealth track blood pressure.
“This is an important advancement because things like high blood pressure aren’t easily-detected, but if left untreated, over time can increase your risk of stroke and heart attack,” says Chan-Remillard.
2. HIIT Workouts
High Intensity Interval Training is one of the hottest workout techniques right now, popular among those who feel it hard to find time to squeeze in their exercise routine. The workout consists of periods of intense exercise followed by periods of rest.
“The growth of this trend coincides with the use of wearable tech devices, since participants are now able to monitor their training intervals,” says Chan-Remillard.
3. More natural, less processed ingredients
The 2016 global food and drink trend report from market research company Mintel showed an increasing demand for natural and less processed foods and drinks. This trend is forcing companies to remove artificial ingredients from products.
“The rising promotion of fitness has highlighted a parallel need for food and drink that helps nourish the body,” says Chan-Remillard. “Natural products and supplements that were once seen as ‘alternative’ are now becoming mainstream.”
He points to brands like Vega as one example. The company touts better performance and faster recovery with the use of its clean, plant-based nutrition products and drinks.
This year, the juicing fad is also set to be replaced with “souping”. Since juicing removes the fibre and other nutrients found in the skin and pulp, “souping” is a healthier option that maintains some of the thick, fibrous bits of the original ingredients.
4. Functional Fitness
This is one of the easiest ways to incorporate fitness into your New Year’s routine. Functional fitness involves motions that mimic everyday activities, working various muscle groups rather than one single muscle at a time. It includes practical, movements that simulate activities like carrying groceries, shoveling snow, or picking up children.
“This kind of exercise helps you prepare for the physical activities of daily life and puts fitness into real application. By simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports, you reduce your chance of injury in real life situations,” says, Chan-Remillard.
5. Wellness Coaching
Wellness coaching is a growing trend. Individuals hire professionals to provide expertise and support to help them improve health and maintain the motivation to achieve fitness-related goals such as weight reduction, quitting smoking, and improving nutrition.
For many years, Pharmacists have been taking on expanded roles in the Canadian health care system. They can collaborate with patients to deliver a range of wellness services, including:
- Travel & Immunization Clinics
- Osteoporosis Screening Clinics
- Smoking Cessation Clinics
- Nutrition and Healthy Weight Clinics
- Heart Health Clinics
- Immunizations and vaccinations including Influenza and the Zostavax vaccine for Shingles
- Medication reviews to ensure drug therapy is appropriate and effective.
- Individualized diabetes management programs with Certified Diabetes Educators
- Compression stockings fitting
- Prescriptions for minor ailments/conditions (in some provinces)
- Assistance in helping patients find solutions to everyday health issues around allergy, cough & cold, pain management, stomach health and eye care.
Patients can meet one-on-one with a pharmacist, and they can help develop a plan, set goals, and suggest appropriate products and strategies to improve health.
“Planning out specific health goals will help motivate you to keep New Year’s resolutions past January,” adds Chan-Remillard. He notes that pharmacists are on the frontline of preventative health care services and are an excellent resource for anyone trying to improve health and wellness.