13 Fitness and Wellness Trends for 2022, as Predicted by Local Pros
Next year, wellness practices like strength training, witchcraft-driven skincare and inclusive laser treatments are expected to become super popular.
Wellness as both a concept and an industry has certainly transformed since the start of the pandemic, leaving many folks wondering just what 2022 will bring for areas like fitness, self-care, and skincare. Below, find 13 trends some of our 2021 Best of Philly Health & Self winners predict will be a hit in the new year.
Gym-goers will be more willing to try something new …
Dana Auriemma, founder of The Movement Foundation: “As we return to studios and group classes after such a long time exercising at home, using equipment we don’t have at home will be extra appealing! The bodyweight and small-prop workouts we’ve been doing in our living rooms feel repetitive for many people, so getting on a reformer, hitting a heavy bag, grabbing battle ropes and suspension trainers, or using equipment at personal training studios will be exciting and beneficial, both mentally and physically.”
Maleek Jackson, founder of Maleek Jackson Fitness Boxing Gym: “I believe gym-goers will be leaning more into calisthenics (motion formed without weights) and training modalities like boxing and MMA,” both of which have been rising in popularity as of late.
… But they’re also seriously into strength training.
Jon Lyons, co-founder of Strength Haüs and WE/FIT director at City Fitness: “The biggest trend I’m seeing is a shift away from the high-intensity or ‘dead-on-the-floor’ workouts and a growing emphasis on strength. I could write an entire article on why people should be focusing the majority of their gym-time strength training, but I don’t think there’s enough room on this page to fit all of the reasons. Luckily, it looks like people are starting to figure it out for themselves. At City Fitness within the WE/FIT program, our strength classes beat out both circuit (more HIIT-focused) and fusion as the most-requested class to add to the schedule in 2022. Within the Strength Haüs community, we are getting DMs every week from people interested in learning more about strength work, and have at least one new person coming out to train. We love to see it, and hope it skyrockets in 2022.”
In-person and outdoor workouts will continue to make a comeback …
Adolph Sims, studio manager of Unite Fitness: “Despite the rise in cases due to COVID-19 variants, more and more places are requiring vaccination, and I foresee that being the norm for the majority of fitness places. With Philadelphia requiring proof of vaccination for all indoor dining, it only makes sense that this will spread to more business as well. Naturally, people like to set their resolutions [at the beginning of the year] and the majority of people already have Zoom and online workout fatigue, so people are starting to utilize fitness spaces more and more.” (Wylie Belasik, founder of UliftU, echoes this sentiment, saying people are “eager to meet new people and re-engage with physical training and community building” that comes in a workout setting.)
Auriemma: “Exercising outdoors was a safer (from COVID) and more adaptable option to our unpredictable daily lives, so it grew! But I expect people will continue to increase the time they spend moving outdoors whenever possible, because the stress-reducing benefits of being outdoors are felt more now than ever. There is a growing appreciation for walking, running, hiking and biking outdoors, and how these activities are free, easy to schedule, and bring us closer to the benefits of nature.”
… But virtual classes won’t be gone just yet.
Gavin McKay, founder of Unite Fitness: “The [fitness] industry will continue its expansion of digital-streaming offerings just based on the amount of [financial] investment in the space. The fight for the digital user is on, and the two camps are pure technology (i.e. Peloton, Tonal) and hybrid (studios and streaming). I think there is room for both — many Unite folks have Peloton bikes and were avid users of our strength HIIT workouts. I foresee people accumulating fitness streaming services like they do Netflix, Hulu, Apple+, etc.”
Taja Jones, coach at Strength Haüs: “Although gyms and studios have reopened, I don’t see virtual workouts going away anytime soon. I see them continuing to flourish, but with a twist! Several gyms and studios throughout the city already offer hybrid classes, which allow members to train together but within their comfort level. Those who want to train in the space can do so, and those who aren’t comfortable being in the space can train in the comfort of their own homes. What I love most about hybrid classes is that they still allow for the camaraderie that comes with group fitness. Although the members training virtually and those training in the space aren’t in the same physical space, they can still interact, gas each other up, and support one another.”
And there’ll be increased emphasis on rest and recovery.
Arielle Ashford, co-founder of Unity Yoga: “Our nervous systems have been on overload for the last 18-plus months. Many people have not had the time or perhaps the space to fully process this ongoing pandemic. Things are moving so quickly and time seems compressed — it’s almost like drinking from a fire hose — but there is also an abundance of healing energy. Yoga nidra, yin yoga, restorative yoga and meditation practices allow the time and space to rest, so that we can give our bodies and brains a break to weather this incredible storm.”
Treatments will be even more personalized thanks to tech.
Marquita Robinson Garcia, founder of DVINITI Skin Care: “One-on-one consulting with personal-care professionals and the use of augmented reality will allow consumers to choose from a plethora of options to personalize and customize just about every aspect of the products they use. Digital scanning for skin analysis to determine ingredient compatibility for small-batch products to reduce packaging waste and labeling will become routine and normalized for future personal-care and beauty enthusiasts. There are already a few machines and apps available for consumers to use that can provide detailed analyses about whether one has rough skin, open pores, dark spots, inflammation, and skin hydration levels. In turn, consumers will have more control over what products come into contact with their physical bodies and will be able to preserve and sustain their skin over time.”
Services too often deemed “woo woo” will become mainstream …
Adeline Koh, founder of Sabbatical Beauty: “I think in the next year, and coming years, we’re going to see a renewed interest in all things metaphysical, in particular a revisiting of ancient wellness traditions from around the world. We’re already seeing glimmerings of this with the massive rise in interest in astrology, and the drive to reject the mechanistic in favor of the natural (with increasing consumer demand for clean beauty and interest in botanical-forward formulations). Within the skincare and beauty space, I predict that we’re going to see more and more brands proposing a mixing of science and witchcraft for two reasons: (1) The zeitgeist is shifting such that interest in the metaphysical is becoming more and more mainstream, and (2) A call to return to witchcraft resonates very much with various feminist movements, because witchcraft centers the power of the user/creator and their own magical energies, which is ultimately very empowering.”
… As will natural skincare.
Robinson Garcia: “Oil-based products have become the hidden gems of many brands, and the hand-mixed beauty secrets of our grandmother’s grandmother will start to get the recognition and credibility they deserve! Natural oils derived from plant leaves, flowers, roots and seeds are excellent for maintaining hydration levels and provide immediate plumping and smoother skin upon application. Facial oils will become a staple in skincare routines because of their quick absorption and noncomedogenic (won’t clog your pores or make your skin congested) properties. I think they will be the first way many traditional retail brands enter the natural skincare space (if they haven’t already) or try to maintain market share to keep up with demand for plant-based products due to the sustainability movement.”
Laser treatments will pop off.
Melissa Selig, esthetician at Body + Beauty Lab: “The Morpheus8 laser is going to be a leader in laser technology for 2022. Reason being, everyone wants tighter, more youthful skin, but no one wants downtime. This laser increases collagen production, reduces wrinkles, minimizes acne scars and fades stretch marks. This can all be achieved with minimal to no downtime. Another great benefit is that it’s a quick treatment, quicker then the typical microneedling with RF lasers. It’s sure to be 2022’s new fabulous laser.”
Tirzah Blair, founder of Kari Skin: “The skincare trend we believe everyone will be jumping on in 2022 is inclusive laser treatments. In the past, many lasers were not safe to treat skin tones with high concentrations of melanin. However, technology has come a long way. We are currently offering the newest Clear and Brilliant Touch Complete Treatment (a well-known laser) that is safe for all skin tones. The response has been overwhelmingly positive!”
There’ll be a rise in at-home skincare tools.
Jennifer Kochenour, founder of JKo Beauty: “As technology continues to advance, more people will adopt at-home skincare tools — like those using LED lights, ice rollers and microcurrents — either before they begin professional services or as maintenance between their professional appointments. Also, for many people, wearing a mask has become a part of their work uniform and social accessories. Maskne is something we are all very aware of at this point, and blemish spot patches are becoming very popular. They can be worn under your mask or at night while you sleep for clearer skin in the morning. Sheet masks, sleep masks, lip masks and under-eye masks also continue to gain popularity. Being able to use these types of products while working remotely is another advantage, and taking even just a few minutes a day to treat yourself to a facial tool can have visible effects on your skin in the long-run.”
More and more men will invest in the industry.
Rashida Irvin, founder of Mister Relaxation Spa & Lounge: “Men are becoming more aware of their inner and outer being. Historically, men seemed only conscious of their upcoming haircut appointments; however, things are changing and men are evolving and receptive to trying new things for the betterment of their health and overall appearance. They’re getting manicures, pedicures, facials and massages, and using beard balms, oils and conditioners. (The top services in my spa are massages and facials with a beard treatment.) When I ask my first-time clients how their experience was, the top answer is: ‘I didn’t know how much I really needed that!’ and proceed to schedule a follow-up appointment.”
People will take a more holistic approach to wellness.
JJ Francis, co-founder of Konect: “I believe more people will take a full-body approach to wellness. Today, people are not only looking for quality services, but they also want convenience — ideally under one roof. More and more places will be taking in all aspects of self-care: nutritional, mental and immune health considered alongside caring for the physical body. Being able to relax in an infrared sauna or repair your muscles in cryotherapy is amazing, but the root of the problem needs to also be addressed. These services, I hope, will become more attainable to a much larger population.”
Sarah Hummel, founder of Formation Sauna + Wellness: “I predict next year will be a renaissance of self care! I think folks are feeling a new kind of inner strength, to courageously and proactively do the things that make them feel good in their bodies and their hearts. I envision group wellness events (small and safe, of course) or any opportunity for friends to get together and merge their practices of self-love becoming big, mainly because I think being a good friend in this new era involves sharing personal practices of getting into a good mental state and feeling grounded in your body. At Formation, we’ve seen a lot of new massage clients who are really committed to being well in their bodies. We’ve met so many new friends who visit because they’re interested in trying the sauna for the first time (and love how amazing they feel after). But I think each step on the path to self-care that leaves you feeling good and clear and unburdened then becomes a catalyst to keep trying all the other things that are out there.”
Self-reflection and practices that help folks look inward will boom.
Tracey L. Rogers, local astrologist and life coach: “I recently read an op-ed in HuffPost in which Lindsay Holmes states: ‘I can’t meditate away endless uncertainty,’ and this hit home in a big way. There is so much happening all around us, and while therapy and other forms of counseling will remain a major contribution to the wellness industry in 2022, more spiritual and esoteric practices like astrology and life coaching, for example, are becoming popular alternatives. Journaling is also becoming big! I’ve seen more journal retreats and gatherings this year than ever before. Finally, I’m noticing that more and more people are looking to themselves as frames of reference when identifying what wellness means. As we’re learning from ‘The Great Resignation,’ people want more time with their families, less time commuting to an office, better pay and flexible schedules. Many Americans are beginning to pursue quality living on their own terms — a trend greatly inspired by the pandemic, and possibly the biggest trend of all when it comes to wellness in 2022.”