Four health and fitness trends to watch in 2022 – The Globe plus Mail


People take a walk next to the St. Lawrence River on Christmas Eve in Montreal on Dec. 24. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

With the coming year once again shrouded inside uncertainty, predicting fitness styles feels a bit like the task that faced weather forecasters such as Kenneth Arrow, a future Nobel Prize winner in economics, during the Second World War.

The particular forecasters knew their long-range predictions were no better than the flip of a coin, Arrow later recalled. But when they told their superiors, the particular response was, “The general is well aware that will your forecasts are no good. However, they are required for planning purposes. ”

In that spirit, here are four health and fitness themes that I expect to be big in 2022 – if events don’t derail them.

A focus upon mental wellness

One of the glaringly obvious takeaways from the early pandemic lockdowns was that will exercise is crucial to our mental health. Sure, researchers have known for years that physical activity is a potent antidepressant, but now we’ve all felt it.

The past year has brought some unexpected plot twists, though. Athletes Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles both withdrew through high-profile competitions to protect their mental health. And it’s not just the elite at risk: A recent study , for example , linked perfectionist mindsets to the danger of burnout among athletes of various competitive levels.

Don’t get me wrong: Physical activity remains a crucial tool with regard to promoting psychological health. But as more sports athletes speak openly about their own struggles in order to find balance, expect a more nuanced societal discussion – and more scientific research – about the ways that exercise, and competitive sport in particular, can each promote plus challenge mental health.

Combating wellness misinformation

Anti-vaccine myths existed long before COVID-19, along with a constellation of other pseudoscientific health beliefs such as homeopathy. Most of us had the luxury of ignoring them.

That’s no longer the case, and efforts to combat misinformation have become louder and better organized thanks to groups including Science Up First , a debunking initiative that brings together researchers, health care experts plus science communicators. They’re currently focused on COVID-19 in addition to vaccine misinformation, but their work won’t be done when the pandemic ends.

Take the stroll down the wellness aisles of even the most mainstream pharmacy, for example. You’ll see plenty of supplements and even herbal remedies whose benefits are no more backed by science than the particular much mocked anti-COVID horse dewormer, ivermectin. Science advocates such as the University of Alberta’s Tim Caulfield have long railed against the supplement industry’s evidence-free claims; now that we’ve seen the consequences of false information, maybe we’ll start listening.

Leaning in to the power of nature

In 2019, British researchers crunched leisure together with health data from 20, 000 people and concluded that those who spent at least two hours a week in “green” areas such as parks, beaches and additionally woodlands were measurably healthier than those who accumulated less time in such places.

The idea that exposure to nature is good for body not to mention soul has been around for millennia, and science is now confirming it. Cumulative time in character has been linked to stress levels, mood, immune function and even typically the risk associated with conditions including heart disease and also cancer. Organizations like PaRx – ”Canada’s first national, evidence-based characteristics prescription program” – are encouraging doctors to prescribe nature in order to their patients.

The next step is figuring out to be able to which ingredients we respond most powerfully. Is this trees? The sound regarding water? The particular absence involving traffic? Or something else that we haven’t even considered? Those are the types connected with questions being tackled by researchers, using new tools like the NatureDose app that will tracks your personal contact with different types of mother nature.

Gyms could make a comeback?

Picture this: a new big room filled with exercise equipment, with a quality, quantity as well as variety that you could never afford to install at home. Typically the bustling energy of other people working out nearby. Experts on hand to offer guidance when needed. And you can drop by any time you want, all for a modest monthly fee.

Could this radical concept catch upon in 2022? All the hype lately has been about the convenience for home exercise equipment and the surprising effectiveness of virtual trainers. But there are usually indications of which a minimum of some people are yearning for a bricks-and-mortar alternative. Peloton’s stock, for example, is straight down more than 75 per cent from its mid-pandemic high.

This public-health situation will play a big part in determining whether this particular prediction pans out. So maybe this best resolution for 2022 is simply to make period in your life for physical activity – in your own home, in some sort of gym, out in dynamics, or wherever the circumstances permit.

Alex Hutchinson will be the author of Endure: Mind, Body, and often the Curiously Elastic Limits about Human Performance . Follow him on Twitter @sweatscience .

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