2016 Wellness Trends


Wellness is on the up.  Every week it seems there is a new kid on the block: from fitness crazes to tea-toxing. It can be exhausting to keep up.

What’s the reason for this explosion?  A change in lifestyle and attitude.  We are living longer, working harder, the cost of living is going up (including healthcare), and there is an increase in chronic lifestyle diseases.   Fuelling demand … and choice.

Health and fitness will influence many things in 2016, including the way we work, dress, socialise and travel.  Like previous years, you will see: new athleisure brands; health drinks; teas; fitness crazes, wellness guru’s and health foods. But also expect broader changes and trends; bringing wellness into the mainstream.

We list 5 trends that could make staying healthy and active in 2016 a little bit easier!

No. 1 Bye Bye Bikini Body!

A shift in attitude

Screenshot (113)Photo: Serena Williams in the Pirelli 2016 Calendar

In the last few years, health and fitness has exploded into our lives.  It is everywhere.  Just look at Instagram, Facebook, the internet, and blogs like this one!  Instagram in particular has powered a number of health and fitness guru’s, who are now influential brands in their own right.  And we are inundated with images, mantra’s and products that promote the perfect body: bikini body diets; bikini body workouts; “drop 2 sizes in 2 weeks”; “get flatter abs with these exercises”.  Unrealistic as it is, we [women] have lapped this up.

But the penny has finally dropped, and global attitudes are starting to shift.  Perfection is out.  Balance is in!  Living a healthy, active and balanced lifestyle is becoming a more mainstream choice.  An announcement made by US Women’s Health magazine recently, is a perfect example.  They pledged to completely remove phrases like “Bikini Body” and “Drop Two Sizes” from front covers (they already dropped ‘shrink’ and ‘diet’ in 2015). In a public announcement to readers, Editor-in-Chief, Amy Keller Laird said: “Since our goal is always to pump you up, and never to make you feel bad, here’s our pledge: They’re gone.”  Weight Watchers has moved away from calorie counting and numbers on the scale to earning ‘SmartPoints‘ for healthy lifestyle choices.  And the 2016 Pirelli Calendar, famous for celebrating the perfect bikini body, got a complete revamp: breaking with tradition and stereotype.

Look out for wellness products and services that are focused on bringing you energy, happiness and longevity.

Collective sigh of relief!

No. 2 Uber-ization of wellness

Health, fitness and wellness, when you want it!


The smartphone is a wonderful thing.  It has given us access to the world.  Using your smartphone to buy wellness products and services is not new: buying gym wear,  ordering a juice cleanse package, or booking a fitness class is easy for the tech savvy.  And although it’s relatively early days for us here in SA when it comes to doing things online, it is changing.

When Uber arrived here in SA, it revolutionised how we travelled in our cities: including our expectations. Press a couple of buttons and your taxi is at your door. Within minutes!  This concept is now being applied to the wellness world.  Soon you will be able to book a fitness instructor, order a juice cleanse package, book a massage, a mani or carry out a therapy session, at the click of a button.  And it will be delivered to your door, when you need it.  You may think this a little unnecessary, but it makes wellness accessible. Even at the last minute.  Suiting those who are tight on time (most of us) or struggle to get out of the office (professionals) or home (moms).

Look out for health and fitness products and services that prioritise your needs and timetable!

No. 3 Social Fitness

Sweating with friends

Screenshot (135)

Photo: JHB Live (www.jhblive.com)

Health and fitness has become social.  After home and work, where you meet to workout is quickly becoming the third most important place for adults.  Why? Because health and exercise is a lifestyle choice.  It seems we like to meet up with like-minded people to get a sweat on, and then socialise afterwards over a smoothie.  This has extended into many different forms: workout buddies; building your ‘training tribe’; group fitness such as obstacle/mud runs, extreme fitness, triathalons, spinning, and social fitness events.

If you like to party, try Fit Night Out. Hosted by Women`s Health Magazine, the Ultimate Workout Party takes place in Melrose Arch this February.  They want you to grab your girlfriends, co-workers, sister and mom – and dance, meditate, box and blast your way through summer sweat sessions with the country`s top trainers, including a session from S.W.E.A.T 1000 (who know how to work out in a party atmosphere), and the hottest DJs!

If a fitness party is a little too hectic, follow yoga instructor Steven Heyman from Yoga Works. Heyman, organises Vinyasa Flow yoga sessions on city rooftops and art galleries with live DJ’s and sushi, and hosts a regular Sunday class outdoors at Emmarentia Botanical Gardens as well as yoga on Stand-Up-Paddleboard (SUP).

Or if you are an early bird, try Secret Sunrise.  At 6am when the sun pops its head out, you can start your day with a little dance.  It’s a fun, energetic celebration that combines yoga, meditation, make believe and dancing.  Wireless headphones, whacky instructors and smoothies help you get your morning groove on.  Hosted in Johannesburg and Cape Town each event location is secret, revealed to ticket holders 24 hours beforehand.  For an idea of what to expect, watch this

Look out for more social fitness events in your city and get stuck in!

No. 4 The rise of boutique gyms

Choice and flexibility


Until now, working out has been straight forward: find a gym nearby (and on your healthcare plan), squeeze in your workout and get on with your day.  Pretty basic and uninspiring.  This year we are likely to see a rise in boutique gyms or specialist fitness studios, which offer a more personal and flexible service.  Many people hate going to the gym day-in-day-out, so avoid it: keeping to a regular workout routine then becomes difficult.  But combine a couple of sessions at a boutique gym with free at-home workouts, and pay-as-you-go classes, and you have a flexible, varied and affordable routine.   The proof is in the pudding.  Some of the best known examples overseas, SoulCycle (an indoor cycling chain), Barry’s Bootcamp and Yoga Works, have expanded rapidly in the last 12 months.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the end of large gyms.  Some people love them and the convenience. Outside of city centres they may be the only option.  But they are also changing.  Many of the larger chains (Virgin and Planet Fitness for example) offer expanded services: gym, pools, studios and classes, nutritionists, juice bars, healthy cafes, childcare facilities, biokineticists and physiotherapists.  Today they are one-stop-shops, more akin to wellness centres.

Look out for more options to vary your workout week.  Try one of these established boutique gym’s in SA: S.W.E.A.T 1000, Switch and Fight Club SA  to mix up your workout.

No. 5 Wellness Travel

Rest, Recharge, Rejuvenate


Stress and travel are on the increase. And so is the demand for wellness holidays, where relaxation, fitness and nutrition are part of the package.  More and more people are using their precious downtime to recharge; wanting to return from vacation fully rested, restored and glowing.  Staying healthy on holiday hasn’t been easier!

Many hotel chains have upgraded their fitness and spa facilities.  They offer more than basement gyms and indulgent spa treatments:  a wellness concierge; personalised fitness programmes; healthy food; yoga and meditation.  Recharging before you travel is also possible!  Some airports now offer wellness services, including workout spaces, healthier food options and relaxation bars.  Sydney Airport even has a Lorna Jane Active Living Room, offering yoga and strength sessions ($12 per class), dedicated stretching areas and a clothing store.  (If you are in Cape Town, you can try a Lorna Jane Active Living Room at the V&A Waterfront).  Health retreats are popping up everywhere, combining great food, relaxation and fitness: with knock-out locations also on the menu!  And more people are including activity and exercise into their holidays, transforming their vacation into a fit-cation!

Look out for more wellness retreats to suit every budget and hotels broadening their wellness offerings here in SA.

Inspiration: http://www.spafinder.com


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