6 Corporate Wellness Trends to Watch in 2016

The world of health and wellness is always changing. 2015 was an exciting year in wellness but this year should be even better. 2016 has many new nutrition trends in store – and that’s not all! Kale chips and juice cleanses aren’t for everyone, so check out these 6 evolving wellness trends to shake up your regime in 2016: Rest Easy, Keep Active, Eat Well, Accomplish More and Have a Healthy Relationship with Work! Employee wellness at work and at home just got easier.

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Matcha Madness

Matcha, a green tea powder from Japan that can be used for tea or as an ingredient in many recipes, is the “it beverage” of the year. In fact, at New York Fashion Week many coffee lovers were seen ditching their java for matcha.  Matcha is trending.

Matcha green tea is different from your regular tea beverage and for that reason it offers many health benefits. When you order a traditional green tea, you are drinking water infused with the flavor and nutrients from the tea leaves. With matcha, you are drinking the actual tea leaves that have be ground down into a powder form. Since the whole leaves are ingested, matcha is a richer source of nutrients and antioxidants than your steeped green tea.

In addition to providing small amounts of vitamins and minerals, matcha is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been tied to protection against heart disease and cancer, as well as better blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction, and anti-aging. Another polyphenol in matcha, according to Health magazine, called EGCG has been shown in research to boost metabolism, and slow or halt the growth of cancer cells.

You can find matcha being used in beverages such as tea and even Kombucha and basically at any tea or coffee shop around. Starbucks, Teavana and David’s Tea are stores, which consistently have matcha on their shelves. Teavana carries a whole line of Imperial Grade Matcha and recently launched organic Matcha Singles for instant brew. “

 

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Workplace Wellness is Finally Acknowledged as Worthwhile

Workplace wellness has often been overlooked or underrated, but in 2016 – from the perspective of all concerned – workplace wellness is growing up and here to stay. With fresh and inviting new approaches, workplace wellness is beginning to show results that everyone wants to achieve: happier, healthier and more productive workers, less absenteeism and lower health care costs.

Emily Noll, National Director of CBIZ Wellbeing Solutions, expects to see continued advances in workplace wellness programs. She states, “This coming year (2016), employers are approaching wellness efforts with more experience and better data, which they can use to make significant progress in building a culture of health.”

What makes workplace wellness different in 2016 is that companies are moving past the standard subsidized gym memberships to initiatives that foster an all-encompassing “culture of wellness” where employees can find their purpose in the company and find their wellness peak.

Wellness needs to work and be relevant for the employees and the employer. We have been creating wellness programs that target the whole population, as well as the individual. Wellness programs succeed when there are some personalization options and simplicity and while also delivering significant change at the start. Corporate Wellness programs must focus on 3 pillars for success to be well received.

 As more employers face the reality that the welfare and productivity of their companies are intricately tied to the health of their workers, we can expect to see an increase in workplace policies surrounding employee wellness.  In addition to the traditional ROI, companies look for, Workplace Wellness programs are proving to offer an incredible ROV (Return on Value) and ROT (Return on Time).

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Ayurvedic / Chinese Medicine Principles for Stress

 You have probably heard of superfoods, but have you heard of super-herbs? Adaptogens are a unique group of herbal ingredients that can help your body improve the health of its adrenal system: the system in charge of controlling your body’s hormonal response to stress. Ultimately, adaptogens help the body adapt to stress and manage it in a healthy way.

Adaptogens aren’t new to the market. In fact, they have been used in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. However, it was only recently that studies have found evidence to support their positive benefits and determine that they are safe for long-term use.  These herbs are often prescribed to combat daily stress.

Dr. Aviva Romm, an expert in botanical and integrative medicine for women and children, is a strong supporter of adaptogens. “In addition to their effects on stress adaptation, adaptogens have profound antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that protect your cells from damage from a variety of chemical exposures,” says Dr. Romm, who prescribes adaptogenic herbs to her patients. One of the definitions of adaptogens is that they are non-toxic, even with long-term use. You can rely on these herbs to be safe and gentle.

 Ashwagandha (for soothing), Rhodiola (for calming anxiety), Holy Basil (to promote longevity), Shatavari (to balance hormones in women) and Eleuthoro (to increase mental alertness) are all super herbs she recommends.

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No-Diet Diets

 2016 is all about nutrition and fitness for the sake of feeling good and finding your “inner strength”.

For years we have used the term “ healthy eating ” but it became an obsession, which could impact our self-worth. I use the term “healthy eating” with caution because it usually leads to feeling guilty for days after slipping up and eating chocolate cake. On the flip side, a diet composed of 2 pounds of kale is also not “healthy eating.”   2016 incorporates the fact that healthy eating will have different diets for each person. 2016 acknowledges that there are almost as many ways to eat healthy as there are people working in each company. Wellness has to account for individuality.

Mainstream diet brains, like Lean Cuisine and Weight Watchers have dropped their typical weight loss focused programs in support of the wellness-focused themes – and it’s about time!

Lean Cuisine introduced a campaign called #WeighThis that encourages customers to weigh their accomplishments and not their body. The emotional video that promotes the campaign asks women to share how they want to be weighed using the hashtags #WeighThis. If you’re in need of inspiration this video is definitely worth watching.

Weight Watchers has introduced the Beyond the Scale program. This revamp to their program that has brought men and women to their business for more than 50 years is all about what the wellness-minded person wants from his/her eating program and which may even include no dieting at all. The new program focuses on eating healthier, moving more and finding inner strength

“This is our biggest innovation in our history and it touches every part of our experience,” said Weight Watchers’ chief scientific officer Gary Foster. “We’re going to talk about taking care of yourself in ways that don’t involve food.”

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Athleisure Businesses Keep Rising

 The latest buzz in fashion is “athleisure” and there is a good reason for it!

Athleisure – a combination of “athletic” and “leisure” – is becoming bigger than a trend. Not only have Spandex leggings and yoga pants been deemed appropriate to wear almost everywhere but luxury versions of these leisure clothes are beginning to flood the fashion world. A-list celebrities, like Carrie Underwood and Kate Hudson, embodied the trend by launching their own active wear lines while Selena Gomez and Rita Ora model “lifestyle” collections for Adidas.

Although, what might be the most exciting thing about athleisure is that it’s the start-up businesses that are leading the way. The perception of fitness and being active continues evolving, and customers want smooth transitions from the gym to the office to a night out. Employees are athletes managing many projects at once and “athleisure” is here to stay. Wellness does not start and stop in an hour at the gym.

Outdoor Voices founder, Tyler Haney, believes the secret behind up-and-comers gaining traction on the bigger brands is all about having more of a community. “We’ve recognized that there are a lot of people out there that don’t see themselves as an athlete per se, but are still very much interested in being active,” says Haney. “People nowadays don’t necessarily want to be told who they are — it’s all about being less prescriptive and allowing people to be the ‘color in the clothes.’ We’re shifting the perception of what it means to be active and what it looks like. I would say building a community around inclusivity rather than exclusivity is why we’re seeing such great traction.”

Athleisure stems from the thousands of people who are embracing their healthier lifestyles and the need for stylish everyday comfort. Racing from spin class to the boardroom has never been easier.

 

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Healthy Travel and All in One Wellness Studios are on the Rise

Corporate travelers and salespeople are exhausted from travel and beginning to demand options to offset the chaos on work travel. Hotels are beginning to incorporate farm to table food options, juice bars, in-room fitness and training studios on premises.

1 Hotel South Beach  is getting wellness right for business travelers. Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s restaurant, BeachCraft serves up organic and locally sourced food. The property also has a juice bar, a Spartan Training Gym, and a SoulCycle. It’s clear that wellness travel is very much en vogue and that Sternlicht is onto something huge.

Wellness is a lifestyle that creates communities, cultures and demand. Large spaces are being converted into all-inclusive wellness studios. These wellness tribe centers combine wellness and dining with experience. Retail department stores can create wellness for their customers and corporate businesses have the ability to create wellness movements among their employees.

2016 is the year that work-life integration and balance is a new achievement.

Anne Hubert, head of Scratch, a consultancy within Viacom, thinks there’s a titanic shift occurring, saying, “Millennials aren’t just looking for a job; they’re searching for a calling. Anne adds that the lines are blurred between work and play, hence the yearning for balance, “Millennials don’t distinguish between themselves at work and themselves at home or in the rest of their lives — it’s all one, so this process of searching for their calling isn’t just about ‘work’; it’s about the lives they want to live.”

WeWork embodies the trend of 2016 that balance should be a given. Their mission is to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living. WeWork incorporates wellness, on all levels, into their office spaces

Hats of to an easier, more inclusive approach to wellness in 2016.

 

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Contact Randi Dukoff, President of The Corporate Wellness Consulting Group to find out what a corporate wellness program should look like for your company. Wellness programs may be as short and simple as a Wellness Week or more complex like an outcome-based wellness program and anywhere in between. Regardless of what type of custom program we design, the results will be measurable and relevant to both the company and its employees.