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2024 Health Trends: Bupa Doctor Reveals Which Are Safe To Try And Which To Avoid

Middle-aged women enjoying a dance class

If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution, chances are that it’s related to improving your fitness and your diet – but are some trends safer to try than others?

Dr Luke Powles, Associate Clinical Director, Bupa Health Clinics, explores everything you need to know about the latest health trends – including which ones are worth taking up, and which may be better avoided:

  1. Vitamin B12 supplements and injections
  2. Kombucha
  3. Lymphatic drainage massage
  4. Planking
  5. Wall Pilates
  6. Alcohol-free living
  7. Libido supplements
  8. Posture exercises
  1. Planking: Searches for planking have seen huge growth in recent months – with beginners and older people turning to their search engines to learn how to get started. It’s a great way to condition your body, and sets to become even more popular this year, following recent research that shows planking is one of the best ways to help lower blood pressure.
  1. Wall Pilates: Wall Pilates offers extra resistance and variation to target your core, legs and glutes. However, if you have back pain and think wall Pilates will act as a fix-all, think again – and make sure you speak to a physiotherapist first to help prevent any further pain, or injury. .
  1. Posture exercises: Our research showed huge increases in searches around tackling ‘gamer posture’ and ‘tech neck’ – something that may affect you if you spend large portions of your day sat down, or you enjoy gaming in your spare time. Along with having your work or gaming station set up correctly, getting up and stretching throughout the day is a useful habit to get into to avoid developing poor posture, and the aches and pains that can go with it. Stretches, like the cat-cow, used in yoga, can also help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Remember, to get the most out of your stretches, the key is to do them regularly and with the right technique.

Always speak to a physiotherapist for advice if you don’t feel your regime is improving posture, or any pains are still present.

  1. Alcohol-free living: ‘Sober curious meaning’ searches have seen a 1,500% increase over the last year, highlighting a growing interest in lifestyles led without alcohol. Reducing your alcohol intake – whether it be completely, or having alcohol-free days – is always recommended, as it brings plenty of benefits to your health and wellbeing. Along with improving liver function and reducing your risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, cutting down on drinking can help you in the short term, too. You’ll likely notice improvements in your sleep, weight, skin and mood, too.

1.       Vitamin B12 supplements and injections – speak to a doctor first: If you’re feeling more tired or forgetful than usual, you may have been looking into vitamin B12 injections or supplements to help. Search volumes have seen significant rises over the last six months.

B12 is an important vitamin to maintain your nervous system, energy levels and red blood cell production, but having too much of it in your body can make you feel unwell. Supplements and injections should only be tried if a health professional recommends it.

2.       Kombucha: Fermented tea drinks are becoming increasingly popular, but did you know that here’s little proof of its benefits? Though you may have seen claims that kombucha can reduce cholesterol, present research is very limited, so it’s hard to know how much good drinking fermented tea does for you. What we do know is kombucha contains probiotics, which are thought to benefit gut health – but again we don’t know to what extent, as there’s not a lot of studies with firm conclusions in this area. 

If you’re looking for ways to reduce your cholesterol, speak to a health professional for scientifically backed advice to lower yours.

3.       Lymphatic drainage massage: Lymphatic drainage massage – performed by a qualified practitioner – can work well for those with swelling as a side effect from recovering from cancer, or those with inflammation from specific health concerns, like lymphoedema, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic vein issues. You may have seen claims lymphatic drainage can improve your general appearance, too, but there’s limited scientific evidence that backs this.

4.       Libido supplements: In recent months, online searches for ‘libido boosting supplements for females’ have doubled. It’s normal to see changes to your libido, but if you see a noticeable lull over a long period, it’s important to take a step back and look into the possible reasons why, before trying to try a quick fix. Mental health difficulties, menopause, and relationship issues are all possible reasons you might lose interest in sex. Along with working on intimacy with your partner, speaking to a mental health professional may help uncover anything holding you back from a more fulfilling sex life.

Visit www.bupa.com for the whole story of who they are, where they’ve come from and what they can do for you.

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