How health and wellness will shape up in 2020


What was and what will be: Here is the direction in which the health and wellness industry is moving, come 2020

Exercise: Medicine to Preventive therapy

As we enter the new decade, it has become clear that fitness is no longer about achieving that lean body. As the body neutrality movement takes root around the globe, we are looking towards exercise as a means to respect our bodies.

Which means workouts will move away from being goal-oriented to preventive in nature. “We are seeing that workouts are being seen more as preventive therapy rather than emergency handlers. And two generations down the line, we will see the result,” says Nisha Varma, ACE certified personal trainer based in Delhi.

This was the year the conversation around burnouts intensified, and we acknowledged the strain we are putting on our minds and bodies. This changing psychology has also resulted in a change in the motivation techniques used by trainers in gyms, says Nisha. “Where a few years ago trainers would act like ringmasters, saying, ‘Come on you can push it, you can lift more’, now they have become gentler,” she observes.

The coming years will be about going easy on your bodies. “It’s not about killing yourself doing a workout, it’s about being kind to yourself. Workouts will be more enjoyable and fun-related than just doing what is considered trendy right now,” says Nisha.

Yoga, too, having had its moment in the sun with power yoga, acro yoga and all sorts of permutations and combinations, will make a return to its traditional form that focusses on meditation, breathing exercises and diet modification.

Mental Health: Acceptance to Reaching out

If acceptance is the first step towards change, we have made quite a few strides this past year with regard to mental health. Thanks to celebrities such as Deepika Padukone, Shaheen Bhatt and Lady Gaga speaking up about going through phases of depression in their lives, talking about mental health — at least in Tier 1 and 2 cities — is not a stigma any more. Moving from there, we now have people reaching out to others in the same boat. The rise in the number of support groups, both online and offline, is best explained by this trend. Incidentally, many of these ‘safe spaces’ are being run by millennials and even the Gen-Z.

Mumbai-based Suchita Bhhatia, having seen the challenges that come with a family member having schizophrenia, has recently started a podcast The SOS Show. “We interview people’s personal encounters with mental illness, including schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder. We have also discussed policies such as the Mental Healthcare Act 2017,” she says. The podcast is her attempt to reach out to people facing the same issues as her.

Moreover, ‘therapy’ is no longer contained in the traditional structure of a psychologist’s office, shifting to “safe spaces”. “We want to remove the stigma from therapy and make it more accessible,” says psychologist Dr Sumathi Chandrasekaran. She is the founder of Chennai-based Mind Cafe, which removes the hospital-like setting and turns counselling to essentially having a conversation on couches, over cups of coffee. The fee is also nominal at ₹300 per session.

“I won’t say that it has been a complete success so far… But what we are doing is laying down a foundation for the coming 10 years where therapy won’t be seen as a big deal,” she says.

Beauty: Self Care to Planet Care

Early this year, the world took cognisance of the ‘planetary diet’. Created by the EAT-Lancet Commission, it suggested that what is good for the planet is good for you. Its restrictions on the consumption of meat and dairy paved the way for the coming year to move towards plant-based diets.

This consciousness about the environment has also seeped down to reflect in the way we are changing as consumers. Clean beauty was the highlight of 2019 and will continue well into the new decade. According to London-based analysts Future Market Insights, the global natural cosmetics market, estimated to be worth $36 billion in 2019, is predicted to grow to $54 billion by 2027.

New skincare companies such as the Mumbai-based vegan brand Plum Goodness, established in 2014, are conscientious about the waste they produce, replacing microbeads with cellulose beads. More established, older brands too are changing their packaging: Olay has introduced refillable pods. Unilever, the parent company to Dove and Axe, has resolved to halve its environmental footprint by 2030. Although, most of this is damage control; in the past decade, Unilever came under fire for encouraging deforestation of Indonesian rainforests through its demand for palm oil.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 1:18:41 AM |

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