As 2023 draws to a close, many people are reflecting on what has been another fast-paced year from both a global and personal perspective.
With global tensions, cost of living crisis and life’s ongoing stresses showing little sign of easing, more people are looking for ways to take a step back, reduce their anxiety and focus on improving their overall wellness.
Recent research from David Lloyd Clubs* has shown that people are looking for more ways to protect their mental as well as physical health, seeking escapism, community and tranquillity to balance the increasing stresses of life.
Nearly 40% of those surveyed said that they are looking to regain calm and relaxation in their lives in 2024, with nearly 55% saying they wanted to stay true to themselves and what is important to them.
The idea of health being hard work is on the decline – the focus is increasingly on being adventurous, having fun and prioritising rest.
Research showed that over 39% want to try something new, and 36% pledging to say yes to more life opportunities next year.
Family time is also a key driver with 90% saying family is the most important thing in their lives and a further 46% saying they wanted to spend more time with their children and wider family members in 2024. 26% said they plan to finally address their work/life balance.
According to the UK’s leading premium health and wellness group, here are the health, fitness and wellness trends for 2024.
- AI & PERSONALISED FITNESS
AI burst onto the scene in 2023, and we expect it to continue to drive wellness trends in 2024. Within the fitness world, smartwatches are already commonplace, alongside other smart tech which can create personalised nutrition or fitness plans.
But AI is set to broaden into wellness, as people use it to measure holistic metrics such as stress levels, sleep quality, heart health and nutritional needs.
AI can also enhance the gym experience. Smart gyms are set to become commonplace in health clubs. AI-enabled, these new high-tech gyms offer smart resistance-training machines providing a personised and interactive strength workout.
They automatically adapt the equipment to the user’s body shape, height and fitness level, delivering enhanced technique and fast results.
New EGYM strength circuits are featured in selected David Lloyd Clubs with plans to roll out further.
In addition, super-smart body analysis machines are set to become a leading wellness tool. These state-of-the-art pieces of kit measure, track and improve health and wellbeing.
They scan the body to measure muscle mass by body area, hydration levels, body weight and much more including a ‘bio age’ metric – the rate at which a person is ageing on the inside.
This allows the user to track simply their weight or muscle mass, but to measure their health holistically, allowing them to improve the fitness of specific areas of the body as well as their overall wellness.
Body Hubs, the latest in smart body analysis technology, is being rolled out to all David Lloyd Clubs by the end of 2023.
Both smart gyms and body analysis machines have sophisticated AI capabilities, paving the way for far more intuitive tools to support wellbeing in the future.
- MULTI-GENERATIONAL FAMILY FITNESS TIME
With older generations increasingly leaning into fitness and wellness, coupled with the re-shifting of priorities driven by the pandemic and the desire for community, we predict a boom in multi-generational families working out or taking part in active trips together.
Driven by an increasing number of young working families relying on grandparents’ childcare, many boomers are more actively involved in multi-generational family life than ever before.
Grandparents are spending more time, coaching and developing the younger generation, and passing on valuable skills, which is in turn having a positive impact on the older generation’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Swimming, racquet sports and football are all perfect sports for kids, parents and grandparents to get together. But sitting down together and catching up is also a very important bonding time for multi-generational families.
Community and family sit at the heart of David Lloyd Clubs, at it offers a wide range of health, sports and wellness facilities, but busy, thriving Clubrooms, ideal for families to relax and catch up over a healthy meal or a drink.
David Lloyd Clubs has recognised the increase in active multi-generational families working out together and has introduced of multi-generational classes such as BLAZE Rebels, SPIRIT Rebels and Battlebox PLAY, in addition to 8+ family gym sessions, which are available to all members aged 8 and over.
- COMMUNITY WELLNESS
Loneliness is a growing concern within society. Recent research from the Office for National Statistics* found that almost one in 10 young people in the UK feel lonely often or always.
Not only does loneliness lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, but according to the BMJ it is linked to a series of serious physical issues including coronary heart disease and strokes.
As a result of this growing social epidemic, people are increasingly looking for a sense of connection with others to boost their mental health and wellbeing.
Community-based fitness continues to grow with the increase in the range of group exercise classes, but also broader social groups running clubs, book clubs and quizzes are beginning to become more popular with as people become more aware of the impact of social interaction on mental well-being.
This trend has seen a boom in sociable and accessible sports such as racquets hybrid Padel. Padel is the world’s fastest-growing racquet sport with A-list celebrities such as David Beckham, Elle MacPherson and the Princess of Wales all reportedly avid fans of the game, and it is set to take the UK by storm next year.
Played in doubles, Padel is a cross between tennis and squash. It’s played in glass-framed courts that are about a third of the size of a full tennis court. It’s easy to learn and a very sociable sport, bringing communities together both for games and post-play socialising.
David Lloyd Clubs is rolling out Padel at pace. It currently offers nearly 99 Padel courts across the 133 Clubs in nine international countries. By mid-2025, the operator is planning to be offering over 170 Padel courts across its Clubs.
In addition, it is focusing on redeveloping many of its clubrooms into zones with relaxed lounge areas that allow people to socialise more easily, with quieter adult and business zones for people to work or enjoy some quiet time, to encourage a greater sense of community amongst members.
- SLOW-BUILDING FITNESS HABITS
2024 will see the rise of slow-building fitness habits, doing things at your own pace and exploring an accessible, gentler, more mindful approach to fitness, wellness and exercise.
Whilst social media can be a source of wellness inspiration, it is also guilty of portraying unrealistic and unachievable fitness standards, which can be off-putting to those who are starting out on their wellness journeys.
To counteract this, a new social media trend is emerging, which encourages those who are new to fitness to get involved with gentler, fun and more sustainable exercise habits.
Led by social platform Tik-Tok, viral trends such as ‘hot girl walks’, which involves walking outside whilst listening to motivational podcasts to ‘cosy cardio’ workouts, which is a new low-impact way to exercise that encourages people to mix gentle exercise with home comforts such as lighting a candle or putting on their favourite Netflix boxset.
These trends are taking online communities by storm and this craze is set to continue in 2024, as social media positively connects people and encourages new, accessible and innovative ways to get fit.
‘Habit-stacking’ is also a new buzzword in 2024. This is the idea of starting with small, new healthy habits, and then slowly and consistently building on them, encouraging everyone to improve their health and wellness in a sustainable and achievable way.
David Lloyd Clubs app offers premium, shorter ‘snackable’ online content alongside longer digital workouts, which members can access to workout wherever they feel most comfortable, as well as use the wide range of facilities and group exercise classes in Clubs.
- IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP
There has been a boom in people reporting sleep issues in recent years and people are understanding more about the impact of poor sleep on long-term physical and mental health.
As science advances, there is a greater understanding that sleep is very much an individual habit, with significant variations in how much sleep people need.
The idea that eight hours is the holy grail is misleading, and some people might need a lot less – it’s about quality over quantity.
2024 will be about personalisation with more people seeking professional help from sleep coaches, in the same way we would use a personal trainer, to ensure the advice is right for their individual sleep habits and issues.
Its well-known that exercise has a positive impact on sleep – in particular anything involving aerobic activity such as running, swimming, and cycling.
Meditation, breathing techniques or yoga can help people relax before going to bed. But now people are exploring wider-reaching wellness techniques to improve sleep quality – smart beds, body pillows, sound bathing, hot and cold therapy are all emerging trends for 2024.
Sleep-deprived people will also be seeking advice from experts to understand the science behind sleep, such as the body’s circadian rhythms and the impact of light at specific times of the day, and how that can improve rest quality.
David Lloyd Clubs is training a group of its Personal Trainers to give advice on sleep with a view to rolling it out if its successful.
- NUTRITION AND GUT HEALTH
With advances in science and medicine, we now have a better understanding of gut health and its link to the brain, and its impact on not only physical health but also mental health.
Some of the biggest nutritional trends for 2024 according to Nutrition Insight*** are; “hero ingredients” (super fruits or gut-friendly bacteria) and plant-based offerings. Additionally, mindful eating is an anticipated trend, with technology facilitating the surge.
Apps that encourage slower eating, portion control, and mindful consumption are likely to gain popularity.
Intermittent fasting is currently a popular eating pattern among individuals — involving time-restricted eating and occasional extended fasting.
The fasting trend extends into wellness, with individuals undertaking skin fasts (avoiding skincare), dopamine fasts (foregoing excitement), and fasts from screens and social media.
As a result, many health clubs are expected to expand their offerings to include nutrition counselling and guidance. It is anticipated that some clubs will partner with registered dieticians to provide members with a comprehensive view of their health and fitness progress.
Martin Evans, David Lloyd Clubs’ CCO, who heads up product innovation said; “The impact of our anxiety-inducing lifestyles, global uncertainty and negative news is clearly shaping the wellness trends for 2024 and beyond.
Our research has shown a clear trend towards a calmer, more mindful and smarter approach to wellness to counter-balance rising stress levels.
More people are combining cardio and heavy resistance training with calmer, holistic wellness routines, recognising the importance of restorative activities such as yoga, Pilates, meditation and spa to aid recovery and sleep.
Technology will continue to play a significant role next year as we look for smarter, more mindful ways to motivate ourselves, measure our success and boost our mental as well as physical wellbeing.”
To find out more about David Lloyd Clubs, please visit https://www.davidlloyd.co.uk/
*Research was conducted in August 2023 with 3500 responses from David Lloyd Club members.