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February is Healthy Lifestyle Awareness Month and, as if you hadn’t already noticed from the covers of your favourite glossies and all over the Internet, 2018 is bursting with new health trends.

Here are some of those trends that could help you live your best life:

BIOHACKING

This is an edgy new term for a practice that’s much less scary than it sounds. According to Dr Josh Axe (2018), ‘biohacking’ is testing out different lifestyles to find one that best suits you – for instance, eliminating certain foods from your diet to see how they affect your body or tracking your menstrual cycle to address fertility or PMS (Well+Good, 2018).

Intermittent Fasting

A common biohacking trend is intermittent fasting (IF), where individuals cycle between intervals of eating and not eating. Some people fast for 16 to 20 hours every day, just by skipping breakfast or dinner. Others take more advanced approaches to IF, like eating only once a day or eating significantly less every few days.

But eating this way isn’t just a great way to lose weight… it’s also surprisingly good for you. According to registered dietician Alina Petre (2016), IF can be a potent immune booster, because it improves cell regeneration and fights inflammation and infections. Petra says it can even reduce the negative effects of Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

DIET TRENDS

Gut health

Gut health is a major focus these days and for good reason. According to psychiatrist Emily Deans (2016), gut health plays a massive role in managing inflammation, which can affect your pain threshold, hormones, and ability to fight off illness and manage stress.

According to the Total Wellbeing Diet (2018), there are many ways you can address your gut health, including eating a wide variety of whole, fresh foods, and cutting your junk food intake. Jessica Migala, a writer at Health.com (2015), also recommends consuming more fermented foods – like sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and active yoghurt.

I love this stuff #kombucha #organic #vegan #enlightenment #wholefoods

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Alcohol avoidance

Frida Harju (2018), of health app Lifesum.com, points to another interesting trend in the avoidance of alcohol, and a resulting increase in alcohol-free bars and spirits. The benefits of staying sober are significant. According to drinkaware.co.uk (2016), teetotalling can improve your sleep and complexion, and even reduce your risk of several cancers.

FITNESS TRENDS

Barre

If you haven’t heard about barre, you will. This ballet-inspired cardio and strength training workout (which uses the waist-level bar seen in ballet) is taking the US and UK by storm. Have you seen how strong and fit ballet dancers are? According to Harju (2018), this trend will evolve to incorporate other types of training, like boxing and practising in a heated room.

Hiking

Harju (2018) says that, with the current focus on self-care, hiking is a huge fitness trend. By combining the psychological perks of the outdoors with the physical benefits of breathing fresh air and brisk movement, hiking is an obvious choice for unplugging and staying fit.

According to Kiera Carter (2016) of Shape.com, “…even a moderate one-hour hike can burn around 400 calories, all while sculpting your core and lower body”. Plus, it’s relatively cheap. All you need is a good pair of shoes, a backpack, some company, and you’re ready to go.

TECHNOLOGY

Fitness Trackers

The fourth industrial revolution is taking over everything – especially health and fitness. According to Jacqueline Howard (2017) of CNN, the latest fitness trackers aren’t wrist-based; they’re embedded in smart sunglasses, smart fabric, and small sensors that you can clip onto your clothing. These aren’t only valuable for getting fit, but for reducing injuries too.

Brain tech

Fitness trackers can also go beyond physical exercise. By using technology like Muse, a brain-sensing headband, you can even track and analyse how effectively you meditate. This way, you won’t just be physically fit, but mindful and mentally strong as well.

SUPPLEMENTS

While some people meditate every day, Well+Good (2018) says others are popping nootropics; a new type of brain supplement that is said to reduce stress and brain fog.

Many of these brain boosters include ingredients like amino acids, omega 3s, chewable coffee, and the stress-reducing substance l-theanine. Since the brain is the motherboard for every element of individual well-being, it makes sense to keep it strong and healthy.

In short, there’s a lot going on in the world of health and wellness, and in general, we’re all for it. Just remember to always check with your healthcare professional, especially if you’ve got any health concerns that may be affected by starting something new or different.

[Adapted from SMASA press release]