Global health and wellness spending is expected to increase by approximately $1 trillion next year.
The anticipated trends signal a positive shift towards a proactive and informed approach to health and wellness, integrating modern scientific understanding into lifestyle choices,
It’s official: Wellness has become a top priority for people around the world. It’s estimated that, in the US alone, people spend over $450 billion annually on wellness products and services, such as fitness classes, wearable technology, and mindfulness apps.
Despite the economic turbulence and financial instability our society faces, people continue to spend a significant chunk of their money on health and fitness, per data from Accenture. In fact, over the next year, health and wellness spending is expected to increase by approximately $1 trillion globally.
This is all to say that 2024 is shaping up to be a massive year for wellness. As we look ahead, certain trends, including strength training, heat and cold therapies, sleep hygiene, and science-backed health products, are slated to take off, according to a new report from Mindbody + ClassPass.
“These trends represent a positive shift toward a more proactive approach to health and wellness, integrating modern scientific understanding to make informed decisions,” Norman Ng, DO, an emergency medicine physician at Staten Island University Hospital, tells MDLinx. Below, doctors share their takes on a few of the biggest health trends for 2024.
First up is strength training, also known as resistance training or weight training. Mindbody + ClassPass’s Predictions Report estimates that around 60% of consumers already include strength or weight training in their regular workouts, with this figure likely to grow substantially in 2024. The reason?: Evidence consistently shows that, in moderation, regular strength training boosts longevity. It improves mobility and flexibility, protects cognitive function, and helps prevent cancer and diabetes. “Its role in mental health, such as reducing anxiety and depression, is also recognized,” Dr. Ng says.
There’s been a big shift in how people are working out. Exercisers are now looking to strike a balance; instead of exclusively doing high-intensity cardiovascular workouts, they also want to prioritize low-intensity movement, such as yoga, walking, stretching, and recovery.
When it comes to strength training, starting is usually the most challenging part, says Dr. Ng, but starting slowly is key. Practicing proper form and gradually increasing resistance is crucial for preventing injury and getting results. Shafaq Tarar, MD, an internist and primary care physician with Medical Offices of Manhattan, recommends working with a fitness trainer or exercise professional who can help you develop a customized workout plan based on your goals, fitness level, and preferences. Go at your own pace and listen to your body. “Pay attention to how your body responds to the workouts and make adjustments as needed to accommodate any discomfort or limitations,” she says.
In recent years, unfounded medical claims, healthcare trends, and products circulating on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have surged in popularity. Now, people want to use products that have been rigorously tested and scientifically proven. “This shift reflects a desire for accountability and efficacy in health and wellness products,” says Dr. Ng.
As the Predictions Report puts it, “In 2024, consumers will become increasingly savvy about what they put on their bodies and who they listen to for advice, prioritizing research and expertise.” People will become more selective about what they buy, looking for items that actually work. “Consumers want products that deliver real results, and scientific testing provides evidence of a product's effectiveness, helping consumers make informed choices about their health and well-being,” Dr. Tarar says.
Over the next year, expect increased interest in credible products that have gone through clinical testing. People are becoming more aware that untested or unregulated products may come with safety risks, says Dr. Tarar. People will search for products that have received approval from recognized health authorities, like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to Dr. Ng. They’ll seek transparency about the ingredients included in products and how well they work. They’ll also request recommendations from healthcare professionals, nutritionists, and other health experts who can provide guidance on what products to buy—and why, Dr. Tarar adds.
More people are expected to check out their local cryotherapy facility, cold-plunging clinic, or sauna. In 2023, nearly 30% of Americans tried unconventional therapies, including heat and cold therapies, as a preventative health strategy or to treat chronic pain, per the 2024 Predictions Report. This year, interest in cryotherapies, which has been steadily growing in recent years, will soar as people look for activities to help them recover and fight inflammation.
According to Dr. Ng, hot treatments, like saunas or hot baths, boost circulation and relax muscles. On the other hand, cold treatments reduce inflammation and aid muscle recovery. These treatments are now offered at many local gyms and spas, and people can buy their own hot or cold products to use at home. Meanwhile, there’s been a spike in professional athletes vouching for their benefits. “The growing body of research supporting their benefits in recovery, performance enhancement, and general well-being also contributes to their popularity,” Dr. Ng says.
It’s no secret that sleep plays a critically important role in our overall health. Research shows that a good night's sleep improves immune function, cognitive performance, and mood regulation and helps prevent chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity. Despite the benefits, millions of people—nearly one in three adults in the US—don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, according to the National Institutes of Health. But that may soon change. “With a greater emphasis on preventive health, individuals are recognizing the importance of quality sleep as a foundational pillar of wellness,” says Dr. Tarar.
Even if they don’t get enough sleep, most Americans already care about their sleep in some capacity. For example, they may prioritize having a dark and cool bedroom or try to stick to a consistent wake-up routine.
And about half of the population has purchased a sleep device, such as a sound machine, smart bed, or body pillow, data from the 2024 Predictions Report shows. “As people recognize the impact of inadequate sleep on their physical and mental health, they are becoming more proactive in prioritizing and improving their sleep hygiene,” says Dr. Tarar.
There are a number of ways people will seek to improve their sleep hygiene in 2024, from utilizing sleep tracker apps and investing in sunrise alarm clocks to practicing mindfulness meditation before bed, exercising regularly, and settling into a relaxing bedtime routine.
“By incorporating these sleep strategies and tools into daily routines, individuals can proactively enhance their sleep hygiene and experience the myriad benefits of improved sleep quality,” says Dr. Tarar. Fewer of us will view sleep as an obstacle to productivity, seeing it instead as an essential function that can boost our performance and enhance what we’re able to accomplish.