As we enter our third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, health remains on the top of our collective minds and, as a result, people are more interested in how they can remain healthy for years to come. Health trends can vary from fad diets to new technology that will change the way we look at healthcare so, to make sense of it all, we reached out to leaders across industries to hear what we can expect to see in 2022.
Healthcare in the Home
Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen the importance of video solutions for in-person gatherings increase tenfold. Actually, it was more like 63-fold to be exact; from 840,000 to 52.7 million. New England was the center of the telehealth revolution, but as time goes on, expect to see it continue to spread through all communities.
Dr. Michael Aragon, Chief Medical Officer at Outset Medical, weighed in on this trend saying, “Innovation has skyrocketed due to increased interest in telehealth, and it will continue to grow as new virtual healthcare models and business models evolve and new services and health solutions are made available […] Visiting the doctor will soon become a virtual experience for many patients.”
Offering the opportunity to treat and diagnose without the potential risk of spreading disease in person has not only helped more patients stay safe during the pandemic but has also increased access to healthcare for those who need it most. “This year, there will be a continued focus on ways that those from overlooked communities can get access to the care that they need,” says Juan Pablo Cappello, Co-founder and CEO of Nue Life. “The quicker and easier we can all get in touch with healthcare professionals, the better it will be for everyone. Tech is helping us to do that.”
Expect to see the use and effectiveness of telemedicine and telehealth as 2022 rolls on. Dr. Anita Gupta, a board member at Johns Hopkins expects that this year, the industry will “[find] more consumer-facing solutions that are hybrid models, including both face-to-face and telemedicine while making telemedicine more mainstream and improving consumer access.” A promising notion to say the least.
Acceptance of CBD
CBD has been enjoying a boost in popularity in recent years thanks to a growing acceptance of its medicinal properties. “Long gone are the days where weed was strictly associated with stoner culture,” says Jason Reposa, Founder and CEO of Good Feels. “Just about everyone has heard of or tried CBD for some sort of ailment and those who have usually report positive benefits.”
CBD-infused products are not psychoactive and are therefore legal on a federal level thanks to 2018 legislation. That means that you can purchase a myriad of CBD products online and have them shipped directly to your home in any state.
Expect to see increased use and acceptance of CBD as more and more research sheds light on its many health and lifestyle benefits.
Making Fitness Fun
Gym rats and runners will tell you about the rush of endorphins from working out or the ever-elusive “runner’s high”, but for most people, that sort of enjoyment from exercise is just not going to happen easily. “We are seeing an increase in apps and games that attempt to make fitness both fun and sustainable,” says Jeff Goodwin, Sr. Director, Performance Marketing & E-Commerce at Orgain. “People want an exercise that feels fun just like they want healthy food options that taste good. And that is a good thing because it breeds innovation that will eventually lead to more people joining the fitness revolution”
Apps that allow people to track wellness and grant badges or trophies when goals are met give people an extra incentive to be more active and change the perception that exercise can’t be a positive experience. Devices like Peloton, which makes getting in shape a group activity, are yet another way of creating a more engaged user-base.
“People want to have a sense of community on their fitness journey,” says Shaun Price, Head of Customer Acquisition at MitoQ. “These types of machines and apps that make people feel more accepted during their health journeys are only going to increase as time goes on and people put more of an emphasis on healthy living.”
One of the worst side effects of Covid wasn’t from the disease itself, but instead from the impact the lockdowns had on people’s mental health. “We’ve seen a huge change in the way people talk about mental health,” says Hector Gutierrez, CEO of JOI. “People are finally becoming more accepting of the idea of therapy and meditation and it will save lives over time.”
Meditation apps specifically can increase people’s mood, memory, and attention span. In some cases, they can even lower blood pressure. They also help with your relationships and create a better disposition. These apps’ ability to help those struggling with their mental health has led to an explosion in popularity that some estimate will lead to a market evaluation of $4 billion in the next five years.
But mental wellness extends beyond just meditation and the increase in apps surrounding it. Mental wellness also extends to the world of therapy. Bryan Alston, Chief Marketing Officer at Greater Than says, “The benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy and talk therapy cannot be understated. Therapy can help improve self-esteem, deal with depression, and help curb negative thoughts. Everyone should consider some form of therapy at least once a month to deal with the difficulties of everyday life.”
As technology continues to grow at a staggering pace, so does wellness technology. Fitness apps are more and more commonplace, but not too far behind them are sophisticated and stylish pieces of technology that can accent your look while giving you tons of health benefits.
“This new trend of technology that doubles as jewelry continues to gain traction,” says Lauren Kleinman, Co-Founder of The Quality Edit. “It’s not just the Apple Watch anymore either. We are seeing fashionable wearables that help users track their heart rate, sleep quality, steps, and more and we only expect these to advance as time goes on.”
Wellness tech is branching out beyond just what people are wearing, though, says Michael Jankie, Founder of The Natural Patch Co. “The metaverse is rapidly growing and games that get people off their couches are starting to gain traction. A VR headset can be workout equipment on the right person’s head.” With games like white-water rafting and obstacle courses, VRs are a great new way for people to sneak in some exercise while technically playing a video game. “It is a much more active experience compared to the passive nature of most consoles,” Kleinman added.
It doesn’t have to be as intense as rock climbing or rafting either, some VR games are simple yoga classes or low-impact virtual experiences made to engage people physically without too much exertion.
It seems like every few years there is a fad diet that picks up steam and that is great if it gets people thinking about their health. But, Brandon Adcock, Co-founder and CEO of Nugenix says the real lasting impact is going to come from the shifting relationships Americans have with food. “Diets will continue to shift to becoming more sustainable as we continue through this decade,” says Adcock.
“People are starting to slowly reconsider what they are putting into their bodies. It might be a result of the pandemic and people’s desire to live a healthier life, but people are overall making healthier choices when it comes to the things they put into their bodies.”
Meat consumption specifically is starting to go down for the first time as meat prices rise and people start trying out healthier diets like veganism and vegetarianism. People are realizing the savings in cutting out meat as well as the benefits it has on the environment, an issue that younger people specifically are more in tune with.
“It’s no secret that meat consumption is a huge factor in the warming of earth’s atmosphere,” says Ubaldo Perez, CEO of Hush. “Less meat is good for your personal health and the health of the planet, so it is really a no-brainer.”
As people realize that these kinds of diets don’t have to be restrictive, their popularity will continue to grow. Trends like Meatless Mondays are starting to catch on as a way for people to try living without meat once a week. We can expect (and hope!) to have Meatless Mondays become Meatless Week as time goes on.
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