CT fitness experts forecast 2022 trends, from 'bricks to clicks' to mushrooms – CT Insider
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Online fitness classes will continue to be popular in 2022.
Gaetana Deiso is a certified athletic trainer and the owner of Body Blast Sports Performance in Westport.
Teddy Savage is the head of health & fitness excellence at Planet Fitness in Norwalk.
Wendy Slater is a dietician at NutriGreene which operates in Westport and Stamford.
An outdoor yoga class hosted by Yoga Culture at Tarrywile Park in Danbury
For many, fitness was put on hold when the pandemic hit, as gyms closed their doors, and even when some reopened, people were reluctant to be in an enclosed space for fear of catching COVID.
But as 2021 comes to a close, many of the area’s gyms and studios are seeing increasing numbers as people traditionally try to get in shape for the holidays, and the numbers are expected to increase substantially once the calendar turns to Jan. 1, and the New Year’s resolutions for a healthier lifestyle kick in.
Teddy Savage, head of health & fitness excellence at Planet Fitness in Norwalk, noted that while fitness fads come and go, no matter what, fitness is essential for people’s mental and physical wellbeing.
“In the wake of the pandemic, health and wellness has never been more important,” he said, adding that he believes the future of the fitness industry is about “bricks with clicks” — a hybrid approach that combines working out in the gym and leveraging a digital, virtual component. “This gives the individual the ability to have the power to make the decision on where they want the workout to take place, with an added layer of supplementing the in-club experience with the in-app experience.”
Trackable metrics and wearable integration is something expected to become even more popular in 2022, as people desire more clarity on what they’re doing and how it is affecting their bodies, while also being able to track it in a way that empowers them to make educated decisions that aid in wellness efforts.
“Comfort through confidence, and empowerment through education—that is the mantra for people as we stride into the new year,” Savage said. “Wearable fitness bands and watches are a great way to take control of the path and hold yourself accountable. With the ability to track anything from steps, heart rate, calories, sleep quality, water intake, mindfulness, and more, we now have the power to color with every crayon in the box and know exactly how each one connects to the other.”
Gaetana Deiso, a certified athletic trainer and owner of Body Blast Sports Performance in Westport, noted online fitness and apps that put people through a workout, yoga or meditation, have increased in popularity for those who are not ready to hit the traditional gym scene. Other options include personal training and group fitness at local gyms or studios, and the great outdoors for walks, runs or bike rides.
Savage also believes people are starting to understand the connection between the mind and body and the role exercise plays in mental health.
“From stretching, to meditation, to cognitive brain exercises,” Savage said. “Gone are the days of the ‘one-size fits all’ type of fitness concepts. People are getting more and more confident in thinking outside of the box to discover unconventional ways to hit their fitness goals.”
And Deiso echoes this sentiment.
“One thing to remember is that wellness comes in many forms — physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual, personal, environmental, global,” she said. “Wellness is cultivating the balance in which they feel good all around. A suggestion would be to start slow and try to be consistent. Consistency is the most important and the foundation of proper nutrition paves the way for the results people are looking for.”
While exercise is important, eating right is equally vital for someone looking to stay fit and live a healthier lifestyle.
The pandemic changed the way people were eating in a number of ways. At first people were using food as a way to handle the scary stress of the first months. People were buying things they normally would not purchase or had not purchased in years as a way to let go. Drinking alcohol also increased. Families were baking treats. There was lots of take-out with Uber eats and Door Dash.
“Now, as the pandemic stretches on, people seem to be more aware of the damage that unrestricted eating can do,” said Wendy Slater, a dietician at NutriGreene, which operates in Westport and Stamford. “They are responding by trying to get healthier and boost their immunity through diet.”
She noted mushrooms are a superfood to keep an eye on in 2022.
“Their adaptogenic properties make them unique and theories show that they may assist in the ways our bodies react to stress,” Slater said. “In addition, they are great sources of vitamin C, D, selenium and fiber. Shitake mushrooms claim to have anti-cancer properties as well. They are showing up as supplements, in teas and as additives to various products.”
Microgreens are another trend gaining in popularity. These tiny powerhouses are packed with nutrition—up to 40 percent more than their adult counterparts. “They are loaded with iron, zinc and magnesium among other nutrients,” Slater said. “Some of the most popular microgreens are broccoli, cress, beetroot and mesclun.”
Then there are postbiotics. A lot has been out there about probiotics and prebiotics—the food that feeds the probiotic bacteria in guts—but now postbiotics are becoming something people are concerned with.
“These are the end products of fermentation that occurs in the gut by probiotics,” Slater said. “They may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and may help to improve immune function. Postbiotics can be found in many fermented foods such as Kefir, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kombucha and Sourdough bread. Trying to include some fermented foods into your daily diet can be very beneficial for your gut barrier and function.”