Today’s Healthy Habits: Watch What’s Trending

By Martha Michael

Today's Health Trends

Trend spotting is a hobby for some people, who may spend countless hours on Pinterest or read marketing trade magazines. But following what’s on the rise could also be your downfall if you don’t show some caution, especially where health-related trends are concerned.

Hybrid Fitness Trends

Active adults today are looking into hybrids for more than just their cars. Fitness programs are marrying such unlikely partners as yoga and high-intensity interval training, known as HIIT.

Hybrids are attractive to people who fear they’ll quit working out when they fall into a rut and grow bored with their fitness routine. Circuit training at studios such as F45, a popular fitness venue in dozens of countries, changes daily to include either HIIT-style cardio workouts, strength training, or a hybrid of the two. Today’s fitness fans seem to want variety and F45 founders created a system that varies the circuit training to provide short, dynamic workouts that clients never have to repeat.

New York City studio SLT, which stands for strengthen, lengthen and tone, offers “full body results” in 50-minute sessions. The company website describes itself by saying, “If cardio, strength training and Pilates had a baby … it would be SLT.”

It was founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Amanda Freeman, who sought to create a results-oriented workout rolling all of her favorite features into one. SLT’s workout claims to activate “slow-twitch fibers” and burn fat through slow movements with the goal of developing long, lean muscles. One of their signature machines is the Megaformer, which uses pulleys to create resistance using your own body weight.

Vegetarian Variations

Vegetarianism is nothing new, with more than 350 million people worldwide choosing vegetarian diets. India has the largest number, where 38 percent of the country’s citizens don’t eat meat.

But variations of traditional vegetarianism are trending, including veganism, which excludes all animal products -- including flesh. A vegan diet precludes the consumption of eggs, milk and cheese, and some vegans don’t eat honey. The Economist considers veganism mainstream now, thanks to millennials. A survey from 2015 shows that 3.4 percent of the population was vegetarian, while only 0.4 percent was vegan that year.

Today, one-fourth of Americans claim to be vegans or vegetarians, so corporations are marketing to that trend. McDonald’s has McVegan burgers and Tyson Foods owns 5 percent of Beyond Meat, a commercial outfit manufacturing meatless burgers.

There are many other popular specialized diets, including:

  • Pescetarianism - No meat except fish and sometimes other seafood
  • Fruitarian - Vegan diet that consists of fruits, nuts and seeds
  • Paleotarian - Diet of organic meats plus fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds
  • Flexitarianism - Reducing the amount of meat you eat or eating meat only with certain meals

Sound Baths

Many people seeking stress relief and a prime environment to practice meditation find sound baths effective. An article on YogaHub describes the experience as an ancient method of healing with sound stemming from Greek, Egyptian and Aboriginal cultures. Similar to the use of vibration from Tibetan singing bowls, it’s a method of sound therapy in which individuals lie down and become immersed in an auditory bath of relaxing, meditative sounds.

Practitioners claim it treats a host of issues and provides health benefits including:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Eliminating stress
  • Promoting relaxation
  • Deepening sleep
  • Increasing energy
  • Boosting motivation
  • Strengthening the immune system

Percussion Massage

The effects of percussion massage as a technique for minimizing physical aches and pains are sometimes compared to the success of cold/heat therapy, foam rolling or using spiked balls.

Generally reserved for serious athletes, percussion massage devices are mechanical, industrial-strength types of treatments, says martial arts site Attack the Back in a review comparing percussion massagers TimTam and TheraGun.

The TheraGun is a top-of-the-line device, but it’s not meant to replace other treatments such as foam rollers and cold therapies. It reaches deep tissue aches, pains and knots that a lot of other devices can’t do as effectively. On the down side, it’s expensive and loud, making a shuddering sound when engaged. The purpose of the TheraGun -- to relax thickening connective tissue -- is most appropriate for competitive athletes or those who have aggressive workout regimes.

TimTam is also geared for deep muscle massage. It’s capable of breaking down larger knots, increasing blood flow and releasing lactic acid, the article says. The massager’s pulses aim to relieve discomfort using 90 degrees of articulation and it includes various tip attachments. TimTam is compact, but has the power to create 2,000 strokes per minute.

While a percussion massage device may be effective for in-home comfort, millions of Americans have chosen regular chiropractic care to provide expert feedback and more targeted treatment. Personally identifying the source of your pain is a part of the process for most individuals, but treating it on your own has limitations. A chiropractor can provide an accurate diagnosis, which may intercept a serious health issue that’s easily missed by treating symptoms without an examination.

Finding like-minded comrades to become fitness partners or swap diet ideas with can be productive. And grabbing hold of a new practice isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes following the crowd is more fun than it is healthy.

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