7 UK Wellness Trends to Watch in 2022
Not long ago, the world was turned upside down, forcing us all to restructure our lives and reevaluate what it means to be “well.” And if there’s one thing we learned, it’s that the definition of wellness is changing. It can no longer be defined by physical fitness alone. In fact, 74% of UK survey respondents think that being physically active helps their mental health.
As part of our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, one of the industry’s most comprehensive studies, we surveyed nearly 1,600 UK residents to see how this shift will take shape in the coming year.
From immune health and intellectual wellness, to mental and sexual wellness, to music and pets, here’s what you can expect—across all dimensions of wellness—in 2022.
From the inside out: increased interest in immune health
It’s no surprise the global pandemic sparked an increased interest in immune health. This trend will continue in 2022, as nearly half (48%) of the UK population is focused on their health and wellness because they want to strengthen their immune system to withstand illness and disease. Well over half (55%) of people report that they’re more focused on health and wellness because they want to live a long and healthy life.
One in five has tried new services or treatments that support immune health, but another 36% are interested in trying those services moving forward—women being more interested than men (41% and 32%, respectively). Services that Uk residents have used more this year compared to last year include red light therapy, IV therapy (vitamin drip), and detox programs. Other immune health services that UK residents are exploring include injection therapy (such as B12 shots), infrared saunas, and salt therapies.
Intellectual wellness: your biggest asset
Today, the definition of wellness means more than just staying physically fit—UK residents are increasingly focused on intellectual wellness.
The evolving definition of wellness is bringing more attention to the importance of intellectual wellbeing as part of a holistic routine. More than a quarter of the UK ranked intellectual wellness within the top three most important dimensions of wellness. To engage in this dimension of wellness, 43% of UK residents say they spend time on creativity and stimulating activities. Intellectual wellness encourages one to explore new concepts, enhance skills, and challenge the mind through continuous learning.
Mental wellness is top priority
Mental health was ranked the most important dimension of wellness by the greatest number of UK residents. More than half (55%) agree the pandemic has negatively affected their mental well-being. The pandemic appears to have had a more significant impact on Millennials and Gen Z than older generations—as 64% of Millennials and 61% of Gen Z reported the pandemic negatively affected their mental health versus 39% of Younger Boomers. More than half said they're focused on their health and well-being because they want to reduce stress. Millennials are the most stressed generational group, while Younger Boomers are the least stressed.
But how can fitness, beauty, and integrative health services support mental wellness? The leading reason consumers exercise is to feel better mentally (47% reported this). Nearly three-quarters of people living within the UK believe being physically active helps their mental health. In the past year, 29% have incorporated physical fitness into their routine to help support their mental wellbeing while 18% have added the practice of meditation and 15% have added breathwork to enhance their mental wellness.
Over half of the UK (51%) and 60% of UK women said they feel more confident when they get regular beauty treatments—in fact, 23% book beauty and grooming services to boost their self-confidence.
Sexual wellness is taboo no more
Sexual wellness, a facet of well-being that’s been historically kept behind closed doors, is now being talked about more than ever. The once-taboo topic is becoming mainstream thanks to service providers, retailers, and influencers, as well as movements to empower sexual wellness. So much so that the global sexual wellness market is expected to reach $125.1 billion by 2026.
In 2022, consumers plan to define sexual wellness in new ways by taking part in a variety of sex-centric services. Nearly a quarter (23%) of UK residents report they're very likely to try new wellness activities that relate to sexual wellness (including individual or group therapy sessions, workshops, sexual performance therapies, and treatments for sexual health). Men and Gen Z are the most likely to have tried or to be interested in trying sex therapy or coaching.
While sexual wellness isn’t the most important dimension of wellness to those in the UK—falling behind dimensions such as mental, physical, spiritual, or financial—29% actively seek information or resources to help them improve their sexual wellness or skills. These services might include sex therapy, vaginal steaming, and erectile dysfunction treatments.
Nearly half (45%) say they’re sexually fulfilled, and it may be worth taking notes from those people, as they claim to be stronger across the other dimensions of wellness than those who are less sexually fulfilled. Sexually fulfilled people are not only more engaged in their wellness through healthy habits, but they also feel more connected to others, feel more spiritually fulfilled, and are generally happy.
Facial exercises are the new burpees
Over four in ten UK residents (43%) have prioritised skincare over the past year. And with a new self-care routine, comes new questions—more than a third (34%) of survey participants shared that they're looking to beauty establishments to provide continued guidance on their skincare routine.
Nearly three in ten (29%) respondents already do or are interested in doing facial exercises to tone their face muscles—with women showing more interest than men. Millennials lead the way here, with 42% reporting interest in or already participating in facial exercises.
Wellness isn’t just for humans anymore
Whether they’re registered as emotional support animals or not, pets are well known for offering their owners love and comfort. This proved especially true during the pandemic. With these furry friends in tow, consumers are on the lookout for pet-friendly wellness experiences.
Nearly two in five survey respondents expressed interest in going to a fitness establishment that's pet friendly. The same proved true for the beauty sector, with 40% of consumers interested in going to pet-friendly salons or spas.
For both the fitness and salon/spa pet-friendly experiences, Gen Z and Millennials expressed the most interest in pet-friendly establishments. In addition, UK residents are game for a wide variety of animal-oriented wellness experiences for healing. Nearly a third say they’d take part in goat yoga, cat cafés, spending time with horses, etc.—with women, Gen Z, and Millennials being the most interested.
Workout classes are the new Spotify
From silent discos to decade-themed workout classes, music plays an important role in fitness experiences, particularly for Gen Z and Millennials. For 61% of UK residents, music strongly motivates them during fitness activities—younger generations being more likely to agree that music fires up their workouts.
In fact, people in the UK who agree that music is strongly motivating during workouts report exercising more frequently each week than those who aren’t motivated by music. One-third of residents say they often chose fitness classes based on the type of music played (however, this is much more important for Gen Z and Millennials).
Music doesn’t just pump consumers up while they’re working out. Nearly 40% turn to their fitness and wellness routines to discover new music for life outside studio walls, with Gen Z and Millennials being more likely to discover new music this way.
The ever-changing definition of wellness presents us with new opportunities to care for ourselves and our loved ones—even our furry friends. Stay tuned for more trends on how UK residents are embracing their wellbeing this year.