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Highlighting the top fitness and wellbeing trends for 2018

Last year we were all sipping on plant waters, nibbling on insect-based snacks and strapping on wearable technology. So what does 2018 have up its sleeve? We spoke to the experts behind Balance Festival to find out their predictions for this year’s hottest fitness and wellbeing trends.

Fighting fit
The boxing trend that swept the nation in 2016-2017 will continue throughout 2018, leading to a rise in classes specialising in martial arts, kickboxing and Muay Thai. Jamie Ray, personal trainer and Balance Festival ambassador, says: “Combat exercises are a hugely exciting development in the fitness sphere. Not only are they a brilliant way to increase stamina, build muscle and improve agility, but by occupying the mind they provide a total release from the stresses of our everyday, chaotic lives.”

New recovery rules
Any trainer worth their salt will tell you that, when training, recovery is just as important as the workout itself. That’s why this year will see a shift towards advanced recovery plans, such as targeting the fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue which wraps around the muscles, ligaments and organs in our bodies to control mobility. Keeping it in good condition reduces injury risk and heightens muscle mobility. Zanna Van Dijk, Balance Festival ambassador, says: “Gyms will also be introducing recovery-based classes and workouts, which focus on stretching, releasing and mobilising your joints and muscles.”

Serotonin-boosting foods
2018 will be the year the ‘Happy Meal’ is reinvented. We’ll soon be checking food labels for serotonin-boosting ingredients, such as tryptophan, which is found in bananas, walnuts, salmon and green tea. Great for emotional stability, calmness, good sleep and a general state of wellbeing, serotonin is known as the “happy hormone”. Jeffrey Young, CEO at Allegra Strategies market research, says: “This powerful little naturally-occurring chemical is an amazing source of goodness for our bodies.”

Health-conscious travelling
In 2018, our travel plans will be centred around more than just white sand and cold cocktails. Our eyes are being opened to the health-conscious travel experiences that the world has to offer; from ‘Shinrin Yoki’ (forest bathing) in Japan to a traditional Vipassana (silent retreat) in India. Hotels around the globe are waking up to this growing market of healthy travellers, and offering experiences to appeal to them.

Plant-based diets
Plant-based diets are more popular than ever before and with reports of brighter skin, lower blood pressure and improved energy levels, it’s no wonder. “Watch out for the likes of macadamia milk, jackfruit ‘meat’ and cashew ice cream hitting our shelves in 2018,” says Zanna van Dijk. “With the rise of vegan, veggie and flexitarian diets in the UK, it’s only a matter of time before these products hit UK stores.”

Mainstream meditation
Meditation and mindfulness are buzzwords for 2018, for all the right reasons! Yogis have been practising meditation for millenia, but the rest of us are just starting to catch on. Apps like headspace have really helped to make meditation mainstream, and we’re beginning to reap the benefits as a nation. In 2018, we’re going to see meditation classes, studios and events cropping up outside of London and spreading across the country as the practise becomes more mainstream. “There is a huge body of evidence backing the benefits of meditation,” says Zanna van Dijk. “Not only including reduced stress but also increased mental clarity and functioning.”

Plant-based beauty
In 2018 we’re going to see plant-based beauty becoming a lot more commonplace. Brands are embracing plant power when it comes to beauty products and treatments; from avocado face oils, to apple cider vinegar toners and hemp body creams. Claire Edwards, Balance Festival Event Curator, says: “From start-ups championing natural beauty, to big brands who are cottoning on to plant power, we’re seeing superfoods for the skin cropping up in all kinds of beauty products.”

World food healing spices
Our exposure to various cultures and traditions has padded out our knowledge bank and usage of healthy food spices. That’s why adaptogenic herbs and spices such as turmeric are taking off. Beyond food flavouring, these food additions are great for decreasing inflammation, improving gut health and restoring mental health. Ludovic Rossignol, Balance Festival founder, says: “We’re embracing more and more Eastern traditions in the wellness sphere, and healing spices are next on the list for 2018! Turmeric lattes were all over menus last year, but we’re predicting a rise in prevalence of two amazing adaptogens: Ashwagandha and Holy Basil.”

Balance Festival is a celebration of food, fitness, wellness and travel. It will be taking place from 11 to 13 May 2018 at The Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London. For more information, visit

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