Wellbeing 2017: What We Are Looking Forward To In The New Year

Words Amy Abrahams Photography Vaara/Various

How will you navigate your journey to better wellness in 2017? A new year offers a tantalising place to seek out better health, find new ways to get fit and soothe and improve our mental wellbeing, and with so many new products, classes and retreats out there, it is easier than ever to find what makes you feel good. From the exercise classes we'll be trying to the food to make sure you're eating, here are six wellness trends to know about now.

 1. Restorative yoga

This gentle, back-to-basics yoga approach is a more meditative practice that uses props such as bolsters, blocks and straps, as well as blankets and eye masks, to not only ease you into positions without straining, but to maximise your comfort while you're in them. Poses are held for extended periods to take you into a deep sense of relaxation, and leave you feeling rested and revived. Try Virgin Active's new monthly 90-minute restorative class Calm By Candlelight, which uses ambient lighting, music and scent to create the perfect setting. 

2. HIIT, refreshed

High-intensity interval training has been one of the biggest trends of the past few years and its star continues to soar. But HIIT's new twist for 2017 is a tougher, more targeted approach - with workouts utilising bodyweight over circuit props to get the impact, wherever you are. A new launch for January, try Firestarter at Equinox, a 30-minute class that uses just a step and your bodyweight to burn through explosive cardio drills - including lunges, donkey kicks and tuck-jumps - with interval lengths that gradually increase, while the rest time stays the same.

3. Silence

With our lives ever more reliant on technology, it feels harder than ever to switch off. But with studies noting that noise, and digital 'noise', increase stress hormones, anxiety and depression, the Global Wellness Summit has identified silence as a necessary tonic for our 24/7 connection. Cue the rise in monastic retreats, such as Eremito in Italy, which offers a total disconnection from wi-fi and phone reception, and the Viva Mayr spa-clinics in Austria, which request silence during all meals. Silent eating, popular in Japan, has also just launched in Brooklyn, USA, with ramen shop Ichiran, where solo diners sit in booths and meals are ordered electronically to avoid verbal interaction. Even airports, such as London City and Bristol, now operate a silence policy that bans tannoy announcements to improve relaxation. Expect to hear more about this throughout the year.

4. Floating

Here's one trend we can all get behind - rest. The benefits of downtime include recharged energy, improved sleep, muscle repair and boosted metabolism. Already widely popular in parts of the US, floating is one method of recovery that is set to go mainstream this year. "Float tanks have half a tonne of Epsom salts inside, so a person floats effortlessly. The water is heated to skin temperature so the person can't feel a thing, then the lights are turned off and the music fades, leaving nothing to perceive," says Ed Hawley, co-founder of Floatworks in Vauxhall. "The weightlessness relieves muscular skeletal tension, as well as helping to ease anxiety and stress."

5. Anti-inflammatory foods

2017's top health priority will have us reaching for foods that combat inflammation, predicts wellness oracle Well + Good. With chronic inflammation affected by poor diet, lack of exercise and stress, and linked to diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart disease and depression, eating well and moving often is more vital than ever. But while turmeric has been hailed as the latest superfood to fight inflammation, with Sainsbury's reporting a 45% increase in sales of fresh turmeric root alone, you would need regular high quantities for big results. Instead, incorporate it into your diet with a wealth of other inflammation-fighting foods, such as fruits and nuts, including berries and walnuts, vegetables like broccoli, kale and tomatoes, and omega-3-rich fish such as salmon and mackerel.

6. Smarter supplements

Popping a vitamin is not new, but 2017 will see products that pack in more finely tuned ingredients for 24/7 wellness. The biggest shift is the rise in 'nutraceuticals' (pills and supplements that aid health) and 'nutricosmetics' (supplements for beauty) - an industry the Global Wellness Summit estimates will reach $7.4 billion by 2020. Collagen products like  Skinade and Nourella are making waves in the beauty market, meanwhile Equi London, recently snapped up by Net-A-Porter, is a next-gen supplement powder that combines antioxidants, omegas, probiotics, amino acids, herbs and superfoods for an all-in-one solution to balancing a fast-paced life.

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