5 Hot Trends to help you balance health and wellness

5 Hot Trends To Help You Balance Health And Wellness

We’ve all been told how important it is to stay healthy and active, but how does anyone find the time or willpower to be at the gym for an hour every day? How about losing an entire weekend to meal prep just to make sure you get all the right nutrients? With work, family, friends, household chores, and pets, when the day is over there’s often no energy left to make sure you balance health and wellness with everything else. The trick is, that if we don’t make the time for ourselves, our bodies and minds eventually start to let us down.

So, how does the modern person tackle this age-old problem? With a modern solution, today’s top health and wellness trends!  These five health and wellness trends go beyond fleeting fads; they represent purposeful shifts towards a healthier and happier version of ourselves. From effective stress-busting strategies to easy nutritional boosts to muscle-building maneuvers, each of these trends is just waiting to help kickstart your health and wellness journey. Balancing health and wellness has never been so easy.

As we embark on the path to balance health and wellness, it’s essential to understand the distinction between wellness and health—two interconnected yet distinct concepts. First, we’ll talk about what each of these words really means. Then, we’ll explore five different exciting health and wellness trends you can seamlessly weave into your daily routine; transforming healthy practices into ingrained habits. Each trend, from stress alleviation to energy enhancement, can play a pivotal role in sculpting a more vibrant life that balances health and wellness.

The Difference Between Health and Wellness

Imagine “health” as your car’s engine: powerful, functional, and essential in your daily life. Now, picture “wellness” as a good road trip: scenic detours, delicious snacks, and good tunes. Both are crucial but for different reasons. The car (health) gets you there safely as long as you do proper maintenance. The road trip (wellness) makes the day exciting if you approach it with the right attitude. To have a successful road trip, you’ll have to balance health and wellness.

Health zeroes in on the physical state of the body and whether or not it is free of illness and injury. Wellness has a broader definition; it is concerned with several dimensions, including mindfulness, emotional/social/spiritual connections, physical fitness, and nutritional aspects.  The best way to balance health and wellness is to take a holistic approach to optimizing your overall well-being.  

Components of Health

The exact definition of health will vary slightly, depending on who you ask. Even Webster and the World Health Organization (WHO) disagree slightly.  However, it is most often measured by physical indicators such as blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, cholesterol levels, organ function, and the absence or presence of injuries or ailments. Essentially, if it can be measured, tested, or diagnosed by a medical doctor it falls under the umbrella of ‘health’. Reaching and maintaining a high level of health is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success in balancing health and wellness. 

Physical Health

Concerned with the absence of illness, injury, or dysfunction. Think of things like catching the flu (illness), breaking a bone (injury), or having an abnormal heart rhythm (dysfunction). 

Mental Health

Emphasizes the management of emotional and psychological well-being. Includes all aspects of mental health such as therapy, stress/anger management, gender-affirming treatment, or psychotropic medication to name a few.

Dimensions of Wellness

The National Wellness Institute advocates for six dimensions of overall wellness: Emotional, Physical, Intellectual, Occupational, Spiritual, and Social. Wellness involves actively making choices and adopting behaviors that lead to a fulfilling life. It’s about actively working for a state of overall health that promotes both the absence of illness/injury and a sense of vitality and purpose. Let’s explore these six dimensions a little further.

Emotional Wellness

This is all about feeling good in your skin, managing your emotions effectively, and building resilience in the face of challenges. To achieve emotional wellness you’ll need self-compassion, healthy relationships, and a positive approach to finding joy in the everyday. Think yoga, meditation, and spending time with loved ones.

Physical Wellness

Feeling strong, energized, and ready to tackle anything starts with taking care of your body. This includes nutritious and balanced eating, regular exercise, and getting quality sleep. 

Intellectual Wellness

Keep your mind sharp and curious! This dimension is about lifelong learning, exploring new ideas, and challenging your perspectives. There are so many studies showing how good it is for our overall health to never stop learning.

Occupational Wellness

Work can be a source of meaning and purpose, but all too often it can also be stressful. Occupational wellness is about finding balance and fulfillment in your career path, setting healthy boundaries, and creating a positive work environment. We spend an estimated one-third of our lives at work! Why shouldn’t it be enjoyable?

Spiritual Wellness

Connecting with something bigger than yourself is spiritual wellness. This dimension focuses on finding meaning and purpose in life, whether it’s through spirituality, nature, religion, or simply connecting deeply with others. To find peace and gratitude amidst life’s challenges is to find spiritual wellness.

Social Wellness

Just like the monkeys and elephants, we are social creatures! Building strong relationships, participating in a community, and giving back to others are things that make us feel human. It’s about connecting with loved ones and new friends.

According to the American Psychological Association, Seven in 10 adults (72%) experienced symptoms of stress in the last month, 80% of Americans admit to feeling stressed at work, and 45% of people feel more stressed when they don’t get enough sleep! These statistics not only paint a worrisome portrait of our present state of overall health but also underscore an escalating demand for realistic solutions.

The terms “health” and “wellness” are often used interchangeably, but they encompass different aspects of an individual’s overall well-being. Understanding the distinctions between the two helps us structure a holistic approach to creating a balanced and fulfilling life.

Balance, Health, and Wellness Trends Worth Embracing

Embarking on the path to balance health and wellness should be more of a thoughtful exploration rather than a wild pursuit. Instead of overwhelming ourselves with too many options and obligations, allow yourself to pick just one or two trends that your life may be lacking.  Try focusing on a dimension of health or wellness that resonates with your current needs. It’s not about jumping on every trend but rather selecting one that adds meaningful value to your life.

Trend 1: Balance Training – Finding Stability in Body and Mind

Gone are the days of solely dedicating workouts to specific body parts; the hottest trend is balance day! Using an unstable board, balance board training engages the entire body, from toes to core to deltoid muscles, for a complete physical workout.

Balance training, often overlooked in traditional fitness routines, is a specialized exercise form that targets the enhancement of equilibrium and stability. This kind of workout challenges the body’s proprioception and engages various muscle groups simultaneously. To get even more out of balance training, try using a balance board, like the Whirly Board or Swifty Scooters, for a few minutes a day. Turning your workout into a game or meditation can engage your social, emotional, and spiritual brain. Who knew you could literally play a game to learn how to balance health and wellness?

  • Getting Started: To incorporate balance training into daily routines using a Whirly Board, start by standing on the board while performing simple tasks like brushing your teeth or watching TV. Try to stay balanced for an entire commercial break. Gradually increase the difficulty by trying to balance on one leg or the outer balls, then move on to spins and tricks! Including balance exercises during breaks at work or while playing with the kids can also be an effective way to work training into your day.

    “Juggling work, family, and personal commitments left me feeling constantly on edge. I found myself fidgeting, my posture was awful, and I couldn’t seem to relax. Using the Whirly Board for just 15 minutes a day has become my stress buster. It’s like a mini-meditation in motion. Focusing on my balance helps me clear my mind, and the playful movements release tension. Now, I approach my day with a calmer, more centered perspective.” – Sarah, 38

Trend 2: Low-Impact Workouts for Gentle Fitness

Ditch the harsh gym routines and say hello to mindful movement! Low-impact workouts keep your joints happy and your body thriving. Low-impact workouts are not just about avoiding aches, it’s about choosing smart exercises that build strength and resilience with an emphasis on muscle repair and growth through stress relief. Expect to see more rest days and active recovery sessions with this wellness fad. I mean, who amongst us doesn’t need an extra rest day here and there?

If you’re looking for low-impact workouts that can get your heart rate moving, there are lots of options available, with new ones popping up all the time.

  • Aquatic Zumba: It’s Zumba, but better.  The resistance from the water provides a low-impact toning and cardio session that won’t put stress on your joints while you dance your way to health; no chance of a twisted ankle underwater. Plus, nobody can tell how much you’re sweating when you’re in the pool!

  • Aerial Yoga: Take your yoga practice to new heights (literally!) with aerial yoga. Using hammocks or slings suspended from the ceiling, you’ll perform poses and flows that challenge your balance, flexibility, and core strength, all while feeling weightless yet supported.

  • Tai Chi Chuan: This ancient Chinese practice combines slow, mindful movements with deep breathing to improve balance, flexibility, and overall well-being. It’s a gentle yet effective way to reduce stress, improve your mood, and promote relaxation.

  • Balance Training: This type of workout can be personalized for any individual. Balance training can be perfect for those seeking a low-impact way to zen out while also engaging the body. It gives you one singular focus (don’t fall down!) to occupy the mind and the body at the same time. A very efficient way to improve coordination, strength, focus, and patience.

Low-impact workouts, like stepping on a Whirly Board, offer a balanced approach to fitness, catering to individuals of all fitness levels. These workouts reduce stress on joints, making them ideal for those recovering from injuries or managing chronic pain, or those who find high-intensity exercise too challenging. An activity that incorporates fluid movements to distribute weight evenly, protecting joints while still delivering effective exercises that elevate the heart rate is what this trend is all about.

Trend 3: Office Wellness for a Healthy Workday

Let’s face it, our modern work lives often confine us to chairs for hours on end. This lack of movement wreaks havoc on our bodies and minds, contributing to issues like fatigue, muscle aches, trouble focusing, and an increased risk of chronic diseases. But fear not, the tide is turning! Office wellness is finally being talked about and that’s empowering both employers and employees to cultivate healthier, happier, and more productive work environments.

Work-sponsored wellness initiatives are rising in popularity, with companies recognizing the crucial link between employee well-being and productivity. Here’s how some companies are tackling the challenge:

  • Ergonomic Office Set-Up: Say goodbye to uncomfortable chairs and hello to sit/stand desks, and adjustable chairs in the office. The ergonomic trend also includes having a proper monitor height, a keyboard, a mouse that supports neutral wrist positions, and monitor filters to reduce eye strain among other things. These tools all promote better posture and reduce muscle strain and discomfort.

  • Healthy Snacks: Ditching the sugary treats for nutritious foods like fruits, nuts, and veggies. Many companies are opting to switch the candy bowls for fruit bowls as healthier options provide sustained energy and support cognitive function throughout the day.
  • Movement Breaks: Sitting all day is a recipe for disaster. Companies are encouraging employees to take regular movement breaks, whether it’s a brisk walk around the block, quick stretches at their desks, or even participating in organized fitness sessions. Some places are even providing dynamic tools like balance boards in the office to add an element of fun and challenge. 
  • Mindful Breathing: With the rise in remote work, it’s easy to get caught up in tasks without taking a moment to breathe. That’s the reason that companies who are on board with this trend are promoting mindful breathing exercises during the workday. Employees are finding it can help reduce stress levels, increase focus, and improve overall mood. Take a few minutes during the day to close your eyes and take five deep breaths, and you’ll feel more calm and centered.

Articles touting the benefits of ‘Corporate Wellness’ are popping up everywhere and the evidence is hard to refute. Companies are realizing that encouraging their employees to balance health and wellness with everyday life, creates a better return for everybody. Employees are happier and so is the bottom line. 

Trend 4: Nourishing Your Microbiome

Imagine a universe teeming with trillions of tiny tenants – that’s your gut microbiome! These diverse bacteria play a big role in your overall health, and the exciting trend of nourishing your microbiome is taking center stage. But why all the buzz?

Your gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi that live in your intestines. These tiny residents digest your food, produce essential nutrients, and even regulate your immune system. But the influence extends far beyond digestion – the gut-brain connection is a powerful reality.

“The gut microbiome is like a vast ecosystem, with trillions of bacteria residing in our intestines,” explains Dr. Emeran Mayer, a gastroenterologist at UCLA and co-author of The Mind-Gut Connection. “These bacteria play a crucial role in digestion, but they also communicate with our brains in complex ways, influencing our mood, memory, and even our behavior.”

In my opinion, this trend is definitely the easiest one on the list to incorporate into your day. To help improve or maintain a balanced microbiome, try these steps.

  • Embrace Probiotics: These live bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha directly contribute to your gut flora’s diversity and health.
  • Befriend Prebiotics: These dietary fibers act as food for your existing good bacteria, promoting their growth and activity. Sources include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Limit Inflammatory Foods: Sugar, processed foods, and excessive red meat can disrupt your gut microbiome. Limit these foods to create a more gut-friendly environment.

Learning how to nourish your gut microbiome is an ongoing journey. By incorporating these trends you can take a huge step towards reaching that balance of health and wellness. If you are looking to learn more, check out the podcast “The Microbiome Hour” hosted by Dr. Justin Sonnenburg.

Trend 5: Dr. Nature is In – Reconnecting with the Outdoors

Feeling stressed? Sluggish? Overstimulated? The answer might be found just outside your front door. The trend of embracing nature for well-being is skyrocketing, and for good reason. Nature can help your physical, mental, and spiritual wellness, a lot of what you need to balance health and wellness. Science confirms: that nature holds the power to heal.

Studies reveal a treasure trove of benefits associated with spending time in nature: Reduced stress and anxiety thanks to lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. Enhanced clarity and focus, and of course the great physical health benefits that come with fresh air, and sunshine. Ready to experience nature’s healing power? Here are some easy ways to reconnect:

Forest Bathing (Shinrin-yoku): Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of a forest. Breathe deeply, walk slowly, and simply be present. A 2019 study published in the National Library of Medicine looked at what happens when working adults spend a day “forest bathing” – soaking in the sights, sounds, and smells of a natural environment. The results were promising: significant improvements in mental health, particularly for those who were already struggling with depressive tendencies.

Being surrounded by greenery simultaneously lowers the production of stress hormones while increasing the number of mood-regulating neurotransmitters. 

Hiking: Explore nature trails, enjoying the scenery and physical activity. Find a level that suits you, from leisurely strolls to challenging climbs. Don’t forget to wear protective clothing and sunscreen while you soak in all of that mood-boosting vitamin D.

Gardening: Nurture your private little piece of nature. Get your hands dirty, witness the magic of growth, and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor. A study conducted by the University of Colorado and funded by the American Cancer Society, published in the January 2023 issue of the journal Lancet Planetary Health, revealed that individuals who started gardening experienced a notable reduction in their levels of stress and anxiety. Not a bad way to balance health and wellness.

Mindfulness in Nature: Practicing mindfulness in nature can be a strong tool in learning to balance health and wellness. Experience mindful meditation outdoors, allow yourself to fully immerse in the present moment and engage your senses. Take your Whirly Board outside and find a serene spot to practice meditation. Listen to the soothing sounds of birdsong, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, and appreciate the natural beauty surrounding you as you find balance and peace.

So, ditch the meditation cushion and step outside. Let nature be your guide, breathe deeply, move mindfully, and experience the transformative power of connection to Earth. You may just discover a whole new dimension to your practice – one that whirls you towards tranquility and self-discovery. 

Continuing to Balance Health and Wellness

Remember, this is your personal life-long journey. Choose the trend(s) that resonate with you today but continue to experiment, and discover what makes you feel your best. When it comes to the best way to balance health and wellness, there is no right or wrong answer. There is only what works for you and your body. As we age and experience new life events our health and wellness needs change as well and it’s important to keep this in mind. Reaching and maintaining the optimal balance of health and wellness is not something to accomplish once then check off the list.

While you search for ways to achieve your goals, make sure you are consulting with your doctor before beginning any type of new workout or major dietary change. 

Share your balance health and wellness journey! Post yourself practicing your favorite trends on social media with #whirlyboard and inspire others to join the movement towards a healthier, happier world!

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