We are constantly learning more about how to experience better health, but sifting through trends that have real impact versus which ones may be more of a fad is getting more difficult. Here at Community Access Network, we think adapting as new knowledge and science become available is essential. We do our best to keep our finger on the pulse, and based on what we’re seeing from the industry, we’ve rounded up some of our tips for incorporating successful health trends we expect to surge in 2024.
Prioritizing Your Gut Health
Gut health has been all the rage, and we don’t anticipate that trend winding down soon. But what exactly is your gut? Many tiny organisms, like bacteria and viruses, work together inside your gut to help with digestion and keep your immune system in check. When things are going well in your gut, your digestive system can help your body absorb nutrients and keep your immune system strong. Plus, there’s growing evidence that your gut is linked to how you feel mentally, your metabolism, and even heart health.
So, how do you keep your gut happy? What you eat matters a lot. Foods with fiber and those that are fermented (like yogurt or sauerkraut) are like super fuel for the good bacteria in your gut. On the other hand, a diet that includes a lot of processed foods can disrupt the balance and cause issues. Lifestyle factors like exercising regularly, managing stress, and getting enough sleep also play a role. If you want to boost your gut, you can try eating foods with probiotics (these are like the superheroes of the microorganism world) or taking probiotic supplements.
Going Alcohol-Free or Cutting Back
More and more people are reducing their alcohol intake or going completely alcohol-free — and with good reason. Alcohol can have a significant impact on the body, affecting various systems and functions. When you consume alcohol, it quickly enters your bloodstream and reaches your brain, leading to changes in mood, coordination, and judgment. Alcohol can take several days to leave your system entirely, and excessive drinking can damage your liver and other organs. And if you’ve ever had a hangover, you’re probably familiar with the unpleasant side effects like headaches and dehydration that follow a night of drinking.
But now, the “sober-curious” movement is rapidly on the rise. Cutting back on alcohol or going alcohol-free can have some incredible benefits for your health and well-being. First, it can give your body a break and help you feel more energetic. Alcohol can sometimes mess with your sleep, and by cutting it out or reducing your intake, you might find that you wake up feeling more rested and ready to tackle the day. Plus, saying no to extra drinks can do wonders for your wallet – buying less alcohol means more money in your pocket for things you enjoy.
By giving your body a break from alcohol, you’re not just doing your health a favor, but you might also notice some positive changes in how you look and feel.
In recent years, mental health professionals and physicians alike have discussed the mind-body connection. Think of meditation as a kind of brain training – just like you do exercises for your body, meditation is like a workout for your mind. It doesn’t take much time; even a few minutes a day can make a difference.
You can start with simple techniques like box breathing, where you visualize yourself drawing a square repeatedly. At each “corner” of the square, focus on your breathing. At the first corner, inhale for four seconds, then hold that breath for four seconds. Next, you’ll exhale for four seconds, then hold for four more seconds before restarting the process.
Or, if you’d like to try something more structured, you can try a class like yoga or pilates. You can also download an app that will guide you through meditations, or check out a video on YouTube!
Integrating Online Workouts
Gone are the days when you must go to the gym to get a good workout. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual workouts were on the rise, and now, the options are nearly endless, many of which are completely free. You can participate in live streams hosted by your gym or even online fitness trainers. Many virtual workouts don’t require equipment, allowing you to do them from anywhere with minimal preparation.
While a balanced diet can ensure you’re healthy, supplements can provide an extra nutritional boost and may even have other benefits. Some supplements are designed to help satisfy your daily intake of nutrients like your standard multivitamin or a prenatal for expectant mothers. On the other hand, herbal supplements are gaining popularity for their touted abilities to help manage mood, weight, hormones, and other aspects of mental and physical health. If you think incorporating a supplement or two into your daily routine would make a difference, consult your provider first.
Get a Professional Opinion at Community Access Network
If you’ve got questions about these health trends or any other popular wellness topics, we’d love to answer them! Our providers are here to listen and advise you based on your goals.