Ready for that “new year new you” energy? Whether you’re aiming for inner calm or guns of steel, you’re in good company.
Millions of people worldwide set a new year’s resolution, with a good portion of these relating to health and wellness. Every year, a new wave of fitness trends sees us plunging into ice baths, hooking up to IV drips and wrapping ourselves in cling film — for better or worse.
In 2023, the newest trends will prompt us to ditch our smartphones, leave our jobs and board planes in pursuit of the perfect mind and body, and we’ve never been more excited to jump on the wellness bandwagon.
In preparation for the January health kick, we’ve enlisted the help of some local experts to sort the facts from the fads and help you limber up for your healthiest year yet.
Exercise snacking and low-intensity workouts
If you think exercise snacking sounds unhealthy, think again. Short bursts of activity are a great way to integrate fitness into a busy lifestyle while changing your mindset around movement. Low-intensity workouts are also set to rise in 2023 according to Yelp’s 2023 trend forecast, with Pilates, yoga and stretching continuing to soar in the year ahead. For Dubai fitness instructor Gerald Du, exercise snacking is a great way to inject some life into a sedentary workday.
“If you’re moving, you’re improving, and the snacking technique is popular with those who don’t have time to dedicate to exercise,” says Du. “Equally, fitness should always be inclusive and low-impact exercising is a brilliant start for people who want to ease their way into getting active. The key is to avoid being sedentary, and low-impact exercise is always better than no exercise at all.”
Wellness travel and fitness festivals
How can we make wellness more exciting? Book a flight, pack your yoga tights, throw in some singing bowls and you have yourself a wellness retreat. Fitness festivals and retreats have grown massively in recent years, with more and more of us swapping clubbing in the Costas for backbends in Bali. Closer to home, Dubai’s annual YogaFest offers yoga, meditation and breathwork sessions, while the Dubai Fitness Challenge gives us 30 full days of free fitness hubs and events.
“As we learn more about the holistic benefits of mind, body and spiritual wellness, people are more open and willing to spend time and money on their wellbeing,” says Khushbu Thadani, a Dubai-based mind-body manifesting coach. “As a generation, we are programmed for instant gratification, and a lot of the time we’re looking for that quick break from reality where we can really maximize the benefits of wellness.”
The day has finally arrived when we’re collectively launching our smartphones into the sea with a jubilant splash. And, though fantasies of tossing your electronics to the wind may remain just that, 2023 will mark a huge shift in digital behavior according to experts. A digital detox encourages limiting — or completely ditching — smartphones, gaming consoles and other tech for a prolonged period to boost productivity and overall mental health.
For those considering a digital detox, Dr Saliha Afridi, clinical psychologist and managing director of The LightHouse Arabia, recommends setting — and sticking to — a tech schedule to get started.
“Set a time window when you will use more addictive technologies like Netflix or social media, instead of having it scattered throughout the day,” she says. “Also aim for totally tech-free days. If this seems daunting, start with a few hours and eventually aim to have whole days where you enjoy the moment without having to capture it for social media.”
Long hours? Demanding workload? Horrible boss? We’re over it in 2023. Next year, employees are prioritizing work-life balance, and they aren’t afraid to make it happen. According to the Bupa Global 2022 Executive Wellbeing Index, over 53 percent of the UAE’s top-level executives are reassessing their priorities by reducing work hours or by leaving their current employer.
Haneen Abosh, a mental health clinical therapist at Arabic therapy platform Ayadi, recommends taking regular breaks, practicing time management and setting boundaries to prevent workplace burnout. “Set out realistic daily or weekly goals and work towards them,” she says. “Assess your current workload and take control by scheduling tasks and actively managing your time. Finally, make sure you’re exercising, eating right, resting and living a life full of experiences outside of work. You are so much more than just your job.”
In 2023, the battle for a 9pm dinner reservation will be a thing of the past, according to nutritionists. Recent research suggests that eating earlier in the day and keeping all meals within a 10-hour window could help manage hunger pangs and burn calories faster.
For Dubai nutritionist Shirley D’Souza, eating earlier also has a significant effect on sleep.
“Eating at least four hours before bed allows the food to be digested,” she says. “When your body shuts down for sleep, its capacity to digest food is reduced. Going to bed on a full stomach can be harmful and you risk acid reflux and interrupted sleep.”