With growing concerns around non-communicable diseases (NCDs), many individuals are making the necessary changes to their lifestyles for their wellbeing. Wellness and its efforts are about “being aware of and making choices about a significant existence”, says public health specialist and Medical Director of Spiral Aloe Clinics Dr Mothomang Diaho. After over 30 years in preventative medicine, Dr Diaho shares that “the alarming increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in our society has a lot to do with our lifestyles and an inability to moderate our behaviour or change our attitudes towards food and exercise”.
In 2017, the developments in health and wellness are set to stay. From the demand for silence and the surrender of sugar to that beautiful escape beyond the hill (or around the corner), the way to wellness is by caring for mind, body and soul.
As society becomes more urbanised people are continuously being exposed to more stressful environments, and noise. This reality has given rise to the deep desire for actual silence. As a result, there has been a growing interest in silent spas and retreats, restaurants, gyms and even silent airports in places like London City and Barcelona.
Studies have shown that the noise pollution in our environments – both physical and digital – have an adverse effect on our focus and sleep. “This increases stress levels, anxiety and depression, which puts strain on our mental health and can lead to fluctuations in weight”, says Dr Diaho. To combat this she recommends at least 1 hour dedicated to silence daily by going for a walk, meditating, taking a ‘digital detox’ or carrying out a hobby in silence like gardening or writing.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has attributed one third of all deaths globally to coronary heart disease, but the severity of lifestyle diseases may be on the rise in resource-poor countries specifically. Dr Diaho shares that “lifestyle diseases are becoming more prevalent in middle-income families where economic affordability is continuously improving but not at the same rate as health and wellness knowledge”. The focus of the Lifestyle Clinics such as Spiral Aloe will be on preventing these NCDs through education and the provision of advisory services to clients in both private and corporate settings.
Gaining control of our health will not be achieved by throwing out all the food in the fridge, it is about consistency; committing daily to small changes in habits and attitudes that will eventually result in lasting effects. For starters:
- Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. When you miss a meal the body switches to survival mode thinking it might go hungry. As a result it stores fat in its reserves instead of burning it off for energy
- Eat more fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains daily. Cutting down on fatty and sugary foods will have a positive effect on more than just your weight. A balanced diet affects our overall wellness – when we feel good on the inside it reflects on the outside
- Get moving. The gym may not be for everyone but we all have 10 to 15 minutes in a day to do some calorie-burning activity. Jog in place for a few minutes when you wake up, walk around the building at work, dance to 3 of your favourite songs in a row (roughly 12 – 15 minutes), or join a class
According to research from SRI International’s Global Spa and Wellness Monitor report, Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest growing region for wellness tourism. This growth caters to the rising number of consumers seeking a more integrative wellness experience. In keeping with the shift towards healthier lifestyles, many wellness hotels and retreats are changing their offerings. They are going organic in their kitchens while also providing wellness facilities such as a spa or fitness centre, as well as purposefully designed therapies and activities like yoga and meditation classes to help guests achieve both physical well-being and spiritual balance.
Because of shifting mindsets towards personal health, the wellness trends of 2017 are likely to imbed themselves into our way of life. The welcoming of these trends will not only have a positive impact on individuals, it will effectively change the attitudes and behaviour of the health and wellness industry in South Africa overall.