Science-backed wellness trends from the previous decade that will continue into the 2020s

For a variety of reasons, how we care for our bodies, minds, and health evolves over time. While some of these changes are forgotten (thank goodness for low-fat everything and shake weights), others gain attention because there is science behind them, and we are better off adopting them.

Here are a few wellness trends that became popular in the 2010s that experts predict will continue into the 2020s.

  1. Self-care as a Priority 

For decades, Americans (and those from other countries that struggle with overwork) have attempted to define success as never-ending busyness and personal achievement. That is why self-care — particularly well-informed self-care, which prioritizes activities and experiences that consistently contribute to overall happiness in life — is such a significant cultural trend. It’s not about pampering ourselves; it’s about devoting time to things like eating healthy, exercising, sleeping, and taking emotional breaks as needed. And it acknowledges that those things are just as important as our academic and professional success.

  1. Strength Training 

According to Todd Schroeder, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California, “it’s a trend that will definitely continue into the next decade because there is so much research demonstrating the benefits (from reduced risk of disease to reduced risk of injury to improved functioning later in life) linked to strength training.” “Strength training increases bone mass, which helps to slow the progression of osteoporosis as we age.” Furthermore, we all lose muscle mass as we age (sarcopenia), so building muscle through a strength training program is important to help maintain daily activities, which frequently decline with age.”

According to Schroeder, his team is currently investigating how strength training may be linked to improved cognitive function. “The results appear to be impressive.”

  1. Sleep

The decade of the 2010s is when society grew out of the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” mindset. The increased attention from health and wellness media, as well as the influx of sleep trackers and another tech, can be cited as reasons for the shift. However, sleep medicine doctors point to a flood of research highlighting the numerous important ways that sleeping long enough and well enough is linked to better health.

According to Phyllis Zee, MD, Ph.D., a sleep medicine specialist at Northwestern Medicine, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that sleep quality and timing are critical for brain, immune, cardiovascular, and metabolic health. Sleep deprivation and irregular sleep and wake timing have been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, impaired immune function, and even Alzheimer’s disease. 

We now know that deep sleep (the stage of sleep you only reach if you get good, quality sleep) is critical for learning and memory because it is when the brain clears out “waste” that accumulates while we are awake. According to Zee, we now have a better understanding of how sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder, can increase the risk of dementia. We’ve also discovered that circadian rhythm genetic mechanisms exist in nearly all cells, which explains why to sleep and sleep timing have such broad effects on our health, says Zee. (The discovery of circadian clock genes earned the 2017 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology.)

  1. Prioritizing your Mental Health

According to Simon-Thomas, the decade of the 2010s saw significant progress in recognizing the role of our mental and emotional health in overall well-being. “Society-wide challenges, such as extremely high stress among adolescents and the opioid crisis, have provided an opportunity to question the status quo,” she says. “Letting mental health emerge passively and often stigmatized is not working.”

Meditation and mindfulness were once considered too spiritual to be discussed in schools, according to Robin Stern, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. However, in the last decade, there has been a proliferation of mindfulness programs for students of all ages (from kindergarten to upward). “And now we have research that supports the link between our physical health and physical health behaviors and our mental health,” Stern adds.

  1. Enjoying more night-ins

In the last few years, a number of foreign wellness trends have entered the mainstream. According to Simon-Thomas, the Danish tradition of “hygge” has a valuable message. “It’s the notion that happiness is unrelated to being entertained or acquiring material goods,” she explains. She explains that it’s the people you’re with and the quality of time spent together that contribute to long-term happiness.

We’re biologically wired in such a way that the reward for whatever objects give us pleasure diminishes the more we’re exposed to them. Simon-Thomas explains that social pleasure works differently. The effect of being around others and enjoying each other’s company grows with time. Bottom line: This emphasis on creating warm, cozy shared experiences based on playful interactions and contentment is extremely beneficial.


Join Our Mailing List

    Recent Articles

    4 ADHD-Friendly Cleaning Hacks

    For many with ADHD (hyperactive attention deficit disorder), cleaning can be more than a chore–it can feel like a downright impossible mission, with a laundry list of steps that need to be repeated day in and day out. It drains our time and energy and can thrust us into a state of indecision paralysis if we procrastinate on much-needed housekeeping: where do I even begin, and how can I make myself do it?

    4 Ways to Avoid the Holiday Bloat

    It’s that time of year again–and by that, I mean we get to partake in the time-honored tradition of stuffing our faces with several courses of meats, greens, sides, and apple pies until our poor bodies are practically screaming for a shot of Pepto Bismol. If you’re like me, it’s not hard to get bloated during the Holidays, and that’s because the average Thanksgiving (and probably Christmas) dinner is packed with over 3,000 calories–much over the average recommended intake for many adults, according to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. But if you’re trying to curb the dreaded holiday bloat this year and enjoy a little more time with friends and family without feeling like a balloon about to burst, try these tips below!

    Pediatric Hospitals in Crisis amid Surge of Respiratory Viruses

    As parents plan for the holidays, Washington children’s hospitals are suffering capacity and staffing issues that are putting significant strain on providers. A surge in RSV, a contagious respiratory virus, is bringing pediatric hospital staffing and financial issues to the forefront. Flu cases are also beginning to rise and hospital officials are looking toward another potential Covid-19 wave, they worry about the capacity for the state’s youngest patients.

    Why this could be the worst flu season in the US in more than a decade

    The number of positive flu tests and hospitalizations in the United States is at its highest in more than a decade, indicating that this flu season may be the worst in years.
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported at least 880,000 cases of flu-like illness during the 2022-23 flu season.
    According to CDC data, clinical laboratories recorded more than 9,100 positive tests during the first three weeks of the season.
    This is the most tests recorded this early in a season since the 2009-2010 swine flu outbreak in the country. According to an ABC News analysis of federal health agency data, more than 21,000 positive tests were recorded that season.

    Independent lab discovered ‘troubling’ levels of cancer-causing chemical in more types of dry shampoo products

    According to a new report from Valisure, an independent laboratory, high levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical, have been detected in more brands and batches of dry shampoo products.
    Certain aerosol dry shampoos, including some Dove, Nexxus, Suave, TIGI, and TRESemmé products, were voluntarily recalled last month due to the potential presence of benzene.
    The lab then sent a citizen petition to the US Food and Drug Administration on Monday, stating that 70% of samples tested showed “quantifiable” levels of benzene in 148 batches from 34 different brands of dry shampoo products.

    Childhood stress: how adults can support them

    Recent medical studies on kids are showing alarming results: children today are more depressed and anxious than they were a decade ago. Even comparing today’s kids with those of the more stressful periods in human history. Eating disorders and suicidal thoughts have also increased and are becoming more and more frequent among younger kids.
    While healthcare professionals have yet to agree on the deciding cause or causes for the deteriorating mental health of kids in our society, parents, teachers, and adults, in general, can contribute to making the world an easier and safer place for growth and development.

    Hey! Are you enjoying NYCTastemakers? Make sure to join our mailing list for NYCTM and never miss the chance to read all of our articles!