These will be the biggest health trends of 2022

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After the 2020 global shutdown, last year marked a tenuous return to normal. Mass marathons are back. Gyms have reopened. We had the Summer Olympics. Many of those who worked from home returned to the office — some more reluctantly than others. It seemed that we were, if not quite out of the woods, at least seeing the light at the edge of the meadow. Now, however, the rise of another disturbing variant suggests that such optimism may be premature. It’s a reminder that we are still living a lot in the era of the pandemic and that it continues to impact our collective psyche.

Similar to last December, we reached out to frequent contributors and other prominent voices in health and fitness to ask for their predictions for the year ahead. More often than not, their responses did not attempt to predict specific fashions, but reflected shifting perspectives on what constitutes a “healthy” lifestyle. Like OutSweat Science columnist Alex Hutchinson notes below, “all predictions reflect underlying desires or fears.” Therefore, the following submissions are perhaps best read as reflections on both what is and what should be.

More people will take a weightless approach to health

There will be more emphasis on behavior (like eating, moving, and sleeping) as a way to improve or maintain health no matter what a person’s body looks like, instead of just pushing for weight loss or the so-called “healthy weight” as an answer. asset. It’s not a new idea, but podcasts like Maintenance phase and books like Anti-diet helped spread it to more people, and intuitive eating has become so popular that even big diet companies like Noom and Weight Watchers are co-opting its language to appeal to consumers who finally realize that most weight loss attempts are doomed to failure. (Although, to be clear, these companies still sell a lot of weight loss.) Friends and family have told me that they hear a lot less about weight loss in spaces traditionally very focused on weight loss. weight, like gyms and school health. course, which I think says a lot.

Christine Byrne (MPH, RD) Out Raleigh-based private practice contributor and dietitian specializing in eating disorders and eating disorders

Definitions of athlete success will continue to evolve

I have observed a growing trend of athletes in a number of sports – from well-known elites to middle groups – placing less emphasis on the pursuit of results and not tying their identity or self-esteem as much to the performance. I think we will see this shift continue in 2022 as more and more athletes learn to emphasize and identify with the intrinsic motivations for pursuing the sport of their choice.

Mario fraioli, author of The morning shake newsletter and podcast series

Menopause will have its turn in the spotlight

Menopause has always had an image problem, the term referring to women with white hair in the Golden girls which are considered old and irrelevant and whose needs have been largely ignored. But for people who have their period, the transition to menopause begins in their forties, not their 70s, and is a normal part of their forties. And with more one billion people are expected to experience menopause by 2025, we are finally careful. Menopause-related products and services (podcasts, supplements, health services, wearable devices and skin care) have started to hit the market, a $ 600 billion industry, because women don’t want to have the same menopause experience as their mothers and grandmothers. We should expect more in 2022, with a particular focus on the fitness and performance-focused space, as more women want to stay active and competitive for longer.

Christine yu, Out contributor, currently working on a book on the under-representation of women in sports science research

We’ll go back to our old ways (for better or for worse)

All “predictions” reflect underlying desires or fears, and this one is a bit of both: I think fitness in 2022 will be a year of reintegrating into the normal, the everyday, the mundane. After a period of disruption in which, out of necessity, we have explored new and perhaps better ways of doing things, we begin to yearn for the old, familiar ways. As of this writing, Peloton’s stock is down 75% from its average pandemic peak. Maybe the regular old gym, with its in-person classes and sweaty shared equipment, wasn’t so bad; maybe the beer leagues, training camps and Sunday morning group races are as good as they get. On the other hand, it’s not like the world is super healthy in 2019, so getting back to normal can also mean deciding that, no, we don’t need to go for that walk in the world. park that we decided was so crucial to our mental health during the pandemic, and we’re just going to stay here and watch TV instead. In other words, it’s a mixed bag, but whatever happens we’ll probably be bored of “normal” by the end of 2022. So don’t throw that Peloton stock out just yet.

Alex hutchinson, Out Sweat Science columnist and author of Support

The quantized self-wave will recede

In 2022, I think we’ll see people start to hit the point of data overload and move into a more tech-free training and exercise experience. Over the past few years, we have seen a massive increase in wearable fitness and wellness devices such as the Whoop Strap, Oura Ring, and even CGMs for athletes. We are inundated with data on sleep, recovery, blood sugar, etc. which will end up pushing us through too many data points that might not even prove useful. We are constantly tied to technology in all areas of our lives and ready to burn out. As a result, this year I think we’ll see more athletes ditch their bracelets, rings, patches, and watches and stop measuring and trying to quantify every metric of their training, rest, and recovery. Now will be the time to move on from the tech and get back to the basics of performance that an expensive portable device won’t help you with.

Amelia Boone, world obstacle course champion, lawyer and Out donor

Most runners will set a personal best, get injured, or both

Next year will be the year every runner owns a pair of “super shoes” – high-pile models with lightweight, bouncy foam, curved, integrated plates., and pronounced rockers in the forefoot. Brands no longer just focus on marathon runners over $ 250 (although no one will want to run a marathon without a pair), brands are also introducing cheaper models durable enough for training, as well as adapting the technology to trail shoes – watch out for clad all-terrain models from Solomon, Saucony, Craft and Hoka. And runners will find the shoes to work, allowing them to run faster with less effort and leading to PRs. But they’ll work so well that people won’t want to run into anything else – and that’s where the danger lies. Physiotherapists and podiatrists warn that shoes not only improve performance, but also amplify imbalances and alter the mechanics of the stride, introduce new constraints. Look for an increase in injuries ranging from shin splints to stress fractures, toe problems to tendinopathies.

jonathan beverly, editor-in-chief of the running, Out

More people will realize that ‘preparation scores’ are BS

I think on the one hand there will be an explosion of digital wearable devices that are supposed to offer “preparation” scores and many people will swoon over it. On the other hand, I think people will realize more and more that this stuff is a sham. Anyone who has done anything at an elite level for a long time knows the absurdity of trusting a “readiness score” that claims to quantify all the complex inputs to human performance from a device on your wrist. .

Brad stulberg, Out columnist and author of The practice of rooting

Supply chain issues will inspire a more minimalist race

Who knows? COVID continues to disrupt our plans and expectations, so predictions are a fool’s game. But I guess people will be desperate in the coming months to step out of their living rooms, which means less peloton or yoga online and a lot more trail and sidewalk traffic. Perhaps we will also see a return of interest in barefoot running in 2022, as running shoes in common sizes are really hard to come by right now.

Gretchen reynolds, New York Times Columnist “Phys Ed”

Well-being will increasingly be an end in itself

The great resignation has shown that many people are quitting their jobs, but unemployment is actually at an all time high. I think this has wellness implications as it shows that a lot of us are overworked. We realize that we still need a job, but want to do it on our own terms, so we enter the freelance or concert economy. At the same time, millennials, who pushed the wellness industry to what it is today, are also getting older and starting to think about exercise in terms of longevity and pain management. People will always invest in mental health and fitness, but the focus will be on longevity and a sense of well-being, rather than aesthetics or trying to become more productive at your job.

Joe Holder, Fitness columnist for GQ and founder of The Ocho System

Maria J. Book