Man wearing fitness watch

Health and Fitness Trends Expected to Dominate 2024

A new year brings fresh ideas to the fitness industry, a wave of wellness trends and physical health concepts. Muscle and Health explores the hottest trends that are expected to take 2024 by storm.

With 2023 coming to a close, it’s a time to reflect on another wild and revolutionary 12 months in the world of fitness and health.

We’ve seen it all – spread mainly by the inescapable stream of TikTok content – from the curious rise of bed rotting to the hugely popular Hyrox.

Some of us slowed down, most notably through cosy cardio, a slower approach to fitness and health that discourages burnout, while most of us threw ourselves into freezing water before the sun rose.

2023 was also the year we decided that strong is sexy. The American College of Sports Medicine survey revealed that strength training, body weight training and functional fitness were among the top five trends.

Wearable technology reigned supreme in that study, and we can expect the rise of smartwatches and metric-tracking devices to continue in 2024.

The new wave of devices allows the ultimate personalized fitness journey, the ability to track sleep quality, muscle recovery, stress levels, and real-time health diagnostics, just a handful of physical and mental health benefits available at the touch of a button.

Millions of us embraced the great outdoors this year, one strand of the elevated focus on a holistic wellness approach to life, with silent hiking, biophilia and general fitness in the fresh air a regular sight on Instagram.

Hot and cold therapy, holistic health, gut health and a focus on mental health have all had their moments in the spotlight, too; a society with a more refined approach to engaging in a healthier lifestyle, spearheaded by Gen Z.

2023 has been another landmark year for the fitness community, evolving fitness levels and allowing new methods to take centre stage. But what will 2024 bring?

Muscle and Health has asked the opinion of experts, researched the front runners and examined the data to give you a heads up on the next 12 months in the world of health and wellness.

What trend will you try in 2024?

Sound baths

Sound bath bowls fitness trend

Sound baths are just for you if you want to level up your meditation game.

They’re gaining some serious popularity these days. According to Danielle Pates, the health practitioner over at Specscart, searches for sound baths shot up by a whopping 153% when she dug into the data from Google Analytics. 

Pates predicts that sound bathing will be a wellness trend to watch out for in 2024. So, if you want to be ahead of the curve, now is the time to give sound baths a go.

What is a sound bath? It’s like a meditation class or a chill-yin yoga session. You get comfy, probably sit or lie on a yoga mat, close your eyes, and let the magic happen as an instructor guides you through the practice.

It’s all about tuning out the external and internal noise and finding that inner peace and harmony. Picture the sounds washing over your mind and body, carrying you to a deeper state of consciousness, like during meditation. 

People experience all sorts of sensations during these sessions. Most people fall into a deep state of relaxation, which is always a win; some people have unforgettable transcendent moments of creativity, while others might get emotional tears.

Some lucky souls even catch some shut-eye right in the middle.

AI boom shows no signs of stopping

AI powered smart gym fitness trend

Artificial Intelligence has dominated 2023; it’s everywhere. A roster of mind-blowing developments in the field has allowed the tech to enter the fitness space.

AI is all set to revolutionize how we measure our holistic metrics – think stress levels, sleep quality, heart health, and even nutritional needs, akin to a personal health detective right at your fingertips.

Some gyms are stepping up their game with what they like to call “smart gyms.” These fitness havens are equipped with high-tech machines that tailor your workouts to your body shape, height, and fitness level. 

These machines consider your unique specifications and deliver workouts ideally suited to you, culminating in a truly personalized experience that helps you smash your goals. 

Then there are body analysis machines that help you track more than just your weight – they can measure things like muscle mass, hydration levels, and even your “bio-age” metrics, in essence, the rate at which you’re ageing on the inside.

From measuring your stress levels to providing personalized workouts that deliver fast results, AI is here to stay for the long haul. If 2023 was the tip of the iceberg, 2024 could be an earth-shattering tsunami. Hold on to your sweatbands. 

Sustainable gyms

Dumbbell covered in moss

There’s a growing awareness around the environmental impact of fitness activities, with a surge in eco-friendly fitness gear and an emphasis on sustainable practices within the fitness industry set to emerge in 2024.

Jamie Frew, CEO of Care Patron, believes “sustainability in fitness will gain more traction. This includes eco-friendly workout gear, low-impact exercises, and digital platforms, reducing the need for physical travel to gyms or fitness centres.”

The inevitable sustainable shift the fitness industry is about to undergo is driven by Generation Z – people born between 1995 and 2010 – who primarily consider themselves eco-conscious, according to a 2022 study.

What does an eco-friendly future for overall health look like?

Think sustainably sourced gym supplies; we’re talking about high-end wooden fitness equipment, green living cardio machines, bamboo-based yoga mats and weight plates made from durable polyurethane.

UK-based gym The Gym Group became the country’s first carbon-neutral gym in April 2023, committed to addressing environmental and social issues by utilizing low-carbon tech and renewable energy. Watch this space.

The Great Hydration Revolution

Bottle of water

Plain water is dull, agree? Our hydration choices can be much more than mere replenishment, and we are about to take flight in 2024.

We’re talking about beverages beyond the usual suspects and incorporating innovative elements that would make even a mad scientist jealous. Think collagen-infused elixirs, fibre-packed concoctions, and natural alternatives like salt water. 

Our collective consciousness is awakening to the realization that water is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Whether you’re chasing that glowy, radiant skin, aiming to improve digestion, or seeking a more balanced electrolyte intake, flexible hydration covers all areas.

Water is undergoing a transformation – it’s no longer just a thirst-quenching companion – with added electrolytes for that post-workout boost or collagen to help you rock that youthful, elastic skin.

The trend of water turbocharged with vitamins, electrolytes, and even collagen is upon us. Is anyone else thirsty?

Digital detoxing on the rise

People using mobile and cell phones

According to Dr Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, the chief medical advisor at AllTrails, digital detoxing is on the rise as a wellness trend. More and more people crave a break from the constant connectivity that has invaded our lives.

People across the globe are yearning for outdoor experiences like never before, collectively waking up with a burning desire to disconnect digitally.

This is, in part, a ripple effect from the pandemic, which saw three out of four families commit to a complete digital detox following the resumption of ‘normal’ life.

A 2023 study revealed some alarming statistics about our digital tendencies as a society: 66% of Americans consider themselves addicted to technology, every eight in 10 people spend three plus hours daily on their gadgets for leisure, and, perhaps the most eye-opening, over half of Americans (53%) would command between $3,000 and $5,000 if asked to give up their gear for just one week.

However, one stat did showcase the growing desire to step away from our devices, with 60% of Americans undergoing a digital detox at least once in their lifetime.

With benefits such as improving mental and physical well-being, reconnecting with the offline world, focusing on offline social interactions, and promoting better sleep, it’s no surprise that more and more people are opening their eyes and switching off.

Expect more of us to ditch smartphones (for a while, at least) in 2024.

Fitness and wellness tourism continuing its rise

Health and fitness resort

Even though it’s been a decent chunk of time since we bid farewell to the last lockdown, our thirst for the great outdoors is still going strong.

Yulia Saf is a travel vlogger who has observed and participated in health and fitness practices in over 70 countries, and she foresees a growth in adventure seekers taking up a form of ‘fitness tourism’ in 2024.

She told Muscle and Health, “People increasingly merge travel with health goals, seeking destinations offering wellness retreats or renowned hiking routes. Adventure travel and outdoor activities will continue to trend, offering physical and mental health benefits.”

Fitness and wellness tourism have both been on the rise for several years – partly fuelled by the restrictions and ramifications of lockdown – with a 2023 report by the Global Wellness Institute forecasting the trend to grow more than any other wellness sector, increasing by around 21% in 2025.

A combination of burnout, stress, lowered immune systems, and a more general approach to holistic wellness and nurturing our mental health has seen the likes of spiritual, yoga, spa and meditation retreats – as well as boot camps and fitness camps – stream into the spotlight.

Another reason for the fitness tourism boom is social media influence; the Instagram-friendly aesthetics of luxurious complexes unsurprisingly draw in millions of likes, hashtags, and shares, a large portion of which are endorsed by celebrities with millions of fans.

According to the Global Wellness Institute, it can be defined as maintaining or enhancing one’s well-being. When blended with the option to travel practically anywhere in the world to experience it, we aren’t surprised it’s taking off.

So, fancy a rainforest spa retreat in Costa Rica or a sand bath in Egypt, or does the idea of an authentic Japanese onsen supersento appeal to you? The world of wellness is out there, ready to be explored.

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