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Top 5 Health Trends for 2014

From “super” foods like quinoa and kale, meal plans like the Paleo diet, and fitness crazes such as cross fit training, 2013 had its fair share of health trends.

New ways to get and stay healthy are always in the spotlight as more than 30 percent of Australian’s are classified as obese.

So what’s in store for 2014? Here are some predictions for trends you may see in your gym, supermarket, or hear around the water cooler this year.

Find out if they’re worth incorporating into your lifestyle.


Be Flexitarian

Paleo is so 2013!

Flexitarianism will gain popularity in 2014, with more people choosing to give up a meat based diet.

How it works: The term “flexitarian” is a combo of two words: flexible and vegetarian.

Basically, you’re a vegetarian with wiggle room—if you have a craving for a burger every so often, you’re free to chow down.

Think Meatless Mondays and expand from there. This diet is best for people who like to have an idea of what to do but don’t like having too many rigid rules to stick to.


Workplace Incentives to Be Healthy

If looking and feeling good isn’t enough of a payoff, how about getting paid for getting healthy?

Company health checks have come a long way from the yearly blood pressure and cholesterol readings of the past.

Large companies are now offering financial incentives to encourage participation in company wellness activities. In 2014, we’ll see more use of technology to track and reward people for these types of healthy habits.

For example, one service that’s currently in development is LifeVest, an online health incentive program that companies can use to reward employees for improving their health.

Users can also ask their family and friends to sponsor them within the system to earn even more rewards.

As getting paid to hit the gym becomes more commonplace, we may also see greater adoption of consumer apps such as GymPact.

GymPact lets you check in via GPS at the gym, count your running, biking or walking with RunKeeper, or track your exercises by wearing or holding your phone while working out. The system fines you a small amount for missing workouts and rewards you for hitting your goals.


Virtual Gyms

Group fitness classes and personal trainers are nothing new but in 2014 you can do it virtually in the privacy of your own home.

Live-skype training and classes are now available in Australia with Fernwood and GoodlLife health clubs offering virtual spin, yoga and pilates classes.

There are many types of virtual classes available, but you can also get virtual personalised fitness routines from a trainer.

After speaking with you via email or phone, qualified personal trainers customise a workout program for you based on your individual goals and level.

This also allows the trainer to give plenty of motivation via emails, texts and phone calls to keep you on track.

Virtual instructors are particularly good for people who need the flexibility of when they can do the class and costs are also kept to a minimum.

This form of personal training is perfect for those who are turned off by attending a gym or too self conscious to exercise in front of others.

Before you rush out and start cancelling your gym memberships There are downsides however, it required a fair amount of self motivation because if you don’t like the class, you can easily just turn it off!


Ancient Is ‘In’

Chances are at the beginning of 2013 you didn’t even know how to pronounce quinoa (KEEN-wah) and now you’re seeing the protein-packed grain in everything from salads to desserts.

Quinoa is known as an ancient grain since it’s been around for thousands of years and it’s not the only one on the market.

Ancient grains are becoming more and more popular because of their high fibre content, which we are all lacking, and unique nutrient attributes.

Amaranth, like quinoa, is gluten-free, which appeals to those suffering from celiac disease, and contains the amino acid (protein-building block) lysine, which is absent in most grains.

Freekeh, wheat-harvested and roasted when it’s young, is another one on the rise with double the fibre of average grains to keep you fuller, longer.

Incorporating more whole grains into your day not only helps with weight loss, but can stabilise your blood glucose and help lower blood cholesterol.


Wearable Technology

Like the idea of being able to track how many steps you have taken, calories burned and distance covered while exercising?

Wearable technology like wrist bands and watches can sync your exercise habits directly to your smart phone or computer.

More unique forms of wearable technology include socks that communicate with smart phones to analyse the runners cadence, weight distribution and foot landing.

Giving the runner better technique and reduction in injuries.

Wearable health monitoring devices are only going to become more popular with wireless ECG machines for cardiac monitoring, smart textiles that can recharge mobile phones and technology that delivers health data directly to your doctor are all development stages.


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