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Community-based wellness and connection top Mindbody's 2023 US trend forecast

18 Jan 2023
17,000 US consumers have been quizzed on their wellness priorities and habits as part of Mindbody’s 2023 Wellness Index survey.

The annual report is conducted by the fitness and wellness industry tech business to forecast the top wellness trends for the year ahead.

This year, Mindbody condensed the findings into five key areas to watch:

Strength in numbers: the rise of the wellness collective
According to Mindbody, the past few years have underscored the importance of connection in our day-to-day lives.

Consumers continue to look to fitness, beauty and wellness businesses as a source of community with nearly half (43 per cent) saying that community is a very important part of wellness experiences.

More than a third are likely to choose wellness businesses that are well known for their community-building activities, and nearly a quarter say they’re more focused on their health and wellness to feel connected to other people.

Showing the correlation between connectedness and wellness, consumers who use beauty and integrative health services reported feeling more connected to their communities than those who don't. Similarly, the more active consumers are, the more socially connected they feel, too.

From the ground up: going back to your roots
Respondents also indicated they’re looking to reconnect with nature, with nearly 40 per cent saying they’re embracing a more natural lifestyle.

When it comes to ‘clean beauty’ women are more conscious, with women reporting they’re more likely to visit a salon or spa that uses natural products and try natural pro-ageing techniques like facial massage and sculpting tools.

In addition, consumers are turning to rest and the great outdoors to boost their mental health, with nearly 40 per cent saying they spend time outside to support their mental wellbeing while 24 per cent go for nature walks or forest baths.

They’re also looking to plants and herbs to reduce stress and improve cognitive function, with more than 4 in 10 Americans having either tried or are interested in trying adaptogens, mushrooms that can reduce negative physiological effects of stress, or nootropics – medical-grade supplements that can support brain performance.

Mindbody found that Millennials and especially Millennial men are most likely to try these options for optimal health.

Gen W: ‘The Wellness Generation’
Another big trend that kept presenting was that Gen Z and Millennials require wellness offerings that feel connected, emotional and inclusive.

In almost every way, Gen Z and Millennials engage with wellness more than their mature counterparts, for example, they reportedly spend the most on fitness, salon, spa and wellness services, and they're most likely to work out at least once a week and eat the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables.

These younger generations prioritise their mental wellbeing more than other generations, too.

Gen Z and Millennials are also most interested in the community aspect of wellness, with more than a quarter who say they’re focused on wellness to feel connected to other people, and expect wellness to be a part of the workplace, as they’re more likely to say wellness benefits or perks are important when choosing an employer than other age groups.

Big female energy: the year of the woman
Whether it's going to a female-only gym or taking advantage of the body’s hormonal shifts, Mindbody reported that the data clearly showed American women are tapping into their feminine power like never before.

39 per cent of women say they prefer women-only gyms or fitness studios, which may be why the number of women who experience “gymtimidation” has decreased this year.

For those who are too intimidated to work out in public, seeing more real and diverse bodies in fitness promotions will help. 24 per cent of women also stated that wearing the right outfit (i.e. proper fitness attire or sportswear) will make them feel less intimidated – a trend that’s particularly popular with Gen Z and Millennials.

While periods used to be a taboo topic, talking about cycle syncing, or aligning diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits with the stages of the menstrual cycle is now becoming an increasingly mainstream topic. 35 per cent of women between 18-50 structure their workouts based on their menstrual cycle, with Gen Z and Millennials most likely to do so.

The number of American women who say they’re sexually fulfilled is also on the rise. This could be due to the growing number of women who actively seek to improve their sexual wellness with enhancement therapies, coaching or workshops and the like.

Longevity: functional fitness for a longer, more fulfilled life
Encouragingly, the Wellness Index findings suggest longevity could become the new weight loss. Consumers report being less concerned with using exercise to control their weight and more concerned with living longer. In fact, almost a third of consumers (29 per cent) say they exercise because they want to live a long and healthy life – a significant increase from last year.

One specific way consumers are optimising their health is functional fitness – a type of strength training that prepares the body for day-to-day activities like squatting, bending, pushing and lunging.

More than half of general consumers engage in movement that prepares the body for daily living, with Millennial men the most likely to do so.

Recovery is also a top priority, with nearly half (47 per cent) of Americans saying practices like stretching and restorative yoga are very important to them.

More than one-third of general consumers have tried or are interested in trying ice baths while over a quarter (26 per cent) of Americans practice biohacking for peak physical and mental performance.

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