This past year, Britons have walked, jogged, swam, stretched and weighlifted our way to achieve our fitness goals and become a healthier nation. As 2023 comes to an end, the new year will no doubt bring new workout trends and methods to help us continue our individual journeys.
Over the last few months, trends like the TikTok-famous 12-3-30 workout - which involved walking on a treadmill at a 12% incline, at a speed of 3mph, for 30 minutes - as well as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and pilates became very popular among workout enthusiasts.
But David Lloyd Clubs is predicting a shift in the idea that being healthy is hard work. The health and wellness group conducted research, revealing that nearly half of survey respondents (40%) are looking to regain calm and relaxation in their lives next year, with over half (55%) saying they wanted to stay true to themselves and what is important to them.
The focus is moving towards "being adventurous, having fun and prioritising rest", David Lloyd Clubs says. Around a third of respondents said they want to say yes to more life opportunities next year, with an even higher percentage (39%) wanting to try something new.
More of us are also prioritising time with family, with the majority (90%) saying family is the most important thing in our lives and 46% saying they want to spend more time with them in 2024.
As work/life balance becomes more important to Britons, David Lloyd Clubs has revealed its predictions for the top health and wellness trends next year.
AI in fitness
Artificial intelligence (AI) became a huge buzzword this year, thanks to major developments in the field. AI has even found its way into the fitness space, with people set to use it to "measure holistic metrics such as stress levels, sleep quality, heart health and nutritional needs".
Some "smart gyms" offer high-tech machines that can provide personalised and interactive strength workouts by adapting the equipment "to the user’s body shape, height and fitness level, delivering enhanced technique and fast results".
Body analysis machines are also becoming more popular to track health and wellbeing. These machines can help users track weight or muscle mass, hydration levels, and "bio-age" metrics, which shows the rate at which a person is ageing on the inside.
Young working parents are relying more on grandparents to help with childcare, and grandparents are in turn leaning more into fitness and wellness, which means there is demand for multi-generational fitness clubs and classes that work for the whole family.
"Grandparents are spending more time, coaching and developing the younger generation, and passing on valuable skills, which is in turn having a positive impact on the older generation’s physical and mental wellbeing," says David Lloyd Clubs.
"Swimming, racquet sports and football are all perfect sports for kids, parents and grandparents to get together. But sitting down together and catching up is also a very important bonding time for multi-generational families."
The issue of loneliness was highlighted this year, as research by the Office for National Statistics found that nearly one in 10 young people in the UK feel lonely often or always. Being lonely has also been linked to mental health problems as well as physical issues like heart disease and stroke.
Community-based fitness is a popular choice among people seeking to combat loneliness, and will continue to grow as group exercise classes increase in number and frequency.
Sociable sports like Padel - which is similar to pickleball, a popular sport in the US - and public running clubs like parkrun have grown in popularity as people become more aware of the positive impact of social interaction on wellbeing.
Slow and gentle habits
This year, the 'cosy cardio' trend became a big hit on social media. It encourages people to work out in a comfortable space and at a leisurely pace, and has created a more accessible, gentler approach to fitness and exercise.
Similar trends are expected to continue in 2024, including something called "habit-stacking". This is the "idea of starting with small, new healthy habits, and then slowly and consistently building on them, encouraging everyone to improve their health and wellness in a sustainable and achievable way".
So instead of making a New Year’s resolution that would make you burn out too quickly, try committing to smaller, bite-sized health goals that you can grow into at your own pace.
Improving sleep quality
David Lloyd Clubs foresees sleep becoming a huge priority in 2024, as more people have reported issues in recent years. Interestingly, it predicts that more people will seek professional help from sleep coaches next year to optimise their sleep.
Those looking for ways to improve their sleep quality will also explore wellness techniques like smart beds, body pillows, sound bathing, hot and cold therapy, on top of meditation, breathing techniques and yoga.
All about gut health
Finally, gut health is a buzzword that isn’t going anywhere in 2024. In fact, as we gain a better understanding of the link between our gut health and overall wellbeing, people will be looking for more ways to improve it.
Nutritional trends in 2024 include "hero ingredients" that contain or encourage gut-friendly bacteria and plant-based foods, as well as "mindful eating".
David Lloyd Clubs also believes apps that "encourage slower eating, portion control and mindful consumption are likely to gain popularity".
In terms of diets, intermittent fasting is still going strong, but the idea of fasting is expected to extend into wellness spaces. For instance, people may undertake "skin fasts" (avoiding skincare), dopamine fasts (avoiding excitement) and digital screen and social media fasts.
Martin Evans, CCO of David Lloyd Clubs, said of the predictions: "The impact of our anxiety-inducing lifestyles, global uncertainty and negative news is clearly shaping the wellness trends for 2024 and beyond.
"Our research has shown a clear trend towards a calmer, more mindful and smarter approach to wellness to counter-balance rising stress levels. More people are combining cardio and heavy resistance training with calmer, holistic wellness routines, recognising the importance of restorative activities such as yoga, Pilates, meditation and spa to aid recovery and sleep.
"Technology will continue to play a significant role next year as we look for smarter, more mindful ways to motivate ourselves, measure our success and boost our mental as well as physical wellbeing."
Watch: ‘A lot of it has been permanent shift’: Womens’ Health executive editor on shift to home workouts
Read more about health, fitness and wellness:
The best ways to keep fit and healthy in your 40s and 50s (The Telegraph, 7-min read)
'I practised handstands every day for 2 weeks - here's what happened' (Women's Health UK, 14-min read)
Do This 1 Thing To Recover From A Bad Nights Sleep (HuffPost UK, 2-min read)