New year, new meditation app? NH investigates the growing trend of health-tech and how it will affect you…
Doing downward dog in front of your TV and using your smartphone to keep a gratitude journal might not strike you as something that could be called ‘virtual wellness’, but our love of using tech to improve our health is only set to grow. According to Google Trends, online searches for ‘remote wellness’, increased by 242 percent in 2019 and it’s forecasted to become one of the biggest trends of 2020, with a desire to improve our wellbeing wherever we are, overtaking exercise studios and instructor-led sessions at gyms. Not only is virtual wellness more accessible – after all, there’s no need to have a gym full of equipment if you have an app – it’s often affordable, too. “2020 is set to be the year that the need and expectations of ‘wellbeing’ drive the tech market to think more about what they’re currently offering,” says therapist and founder of mindfulness app Michael Cassell (thinkwelllivewell.com). Our wellbeing has never been more attractive to big companies, so we looked into what the world of wellness has in store for us next year.
In 2020, experts forecast interactive mirrors and AI personal trainers to become a more prominent feature in our workouts. Following a fitness DVD from the comfort of your living room might already feel familiar, but apps are learning to capitalise on our love of home workouts. With hundreds of different workouts that you can do anywhere, the Fiit (fiit.tv) app has become so popular that it’s launched a version for mums. “We know how difficult it is to find time to spend on yourself as a mum, so our aim was to create something that allows you that time without having to leave the house,” says postnatal fitness expert Charlie Launder, who is working with the app. “All the classes on the plan are less than 30-minutes long, making it easy to fit into your busy week.” Couch to 5K, Sworkit and Strava all offer reasonablypriced alternatives to gym memberships, and many provide online communities that can help you get motivated. For those who prefer slower movement classes, Yoga with Adriene offers easy-to-follow classes. In January, Adriene launches a special 30-days-of-yoga via YouTube – a great solution for those wanting a new challenge.
Virtual self-care is now becoming so popular that virtual-reality technology is now allegedly being sold to corporate human resources departments, according to tech giant, Samsung. From meditation apps and interactive journaling, to personalised mental health programmes that can help you with anxiety, there is a plethora of virtual self-care options out there. Apps such as My Possible Self (mypossibleself.com) use evidence-based research to help you become happier and healthier. To start off, the app gives you a questionnaire to fill in, then tailors a self-care programme around your answers. Not only does it help you to understand your moods, but it works towards improving your physical and mental wellbeing. “In our increasingly virtual world, people want seamless processes and services both on and offline, and the ability to choose what works for them,” says Micheal. “Because, after all, personal development is just that – personal.”
Our busy lifestyles mean that many of us can’t take regular weekends away in the Cotswolds, so a virtual alternative might seem like a savvy solution for some. While not exactly the pinnacle of relaxation, virtual spas can offer a break, even if it isn’t that far away from your bed. You can catch free online yoga classes, the lowdown on reflexology and keep up with the latest Reiki news, at virtualwellnesscenter.com. All you need to do is register and log in to get started. Virtual reality technology is also set to make ‘getting away from the hustle and bustle’ more achievable. Devised by a former game producer at Disney, Esqapes Immersive Relaxation (myesqape.com) is a virtual reality experience that replicates a day out at your favourite spa – without the massage tables. With 10 experiences available to book via the spa’s website, you can find yourself at a tropical retreat, a snowbank cabin, or a ‘heavenly’ garden. And, while it might all sound a little ‘Back to the Future’, studies have shown that VR can reduce levels of anxiety and negative emotions, plus promote a positive mood. Sign us up?
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