This year, fitness lovers got technical when it comes to exercise, nutrition and what we do in our spare time in order to enhance performance and become the best version of ourselves

These are some of the notable health and wellness trends that emerged in 2018.

A cut above Keto

It seems like everyone is talking about the keto (ketogenic) diet for weight loss. Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet designed to lower blood sugar and insulin levels. It shifts your body’s metabolism away from burning carbohydrates and toward using fat as a form of energy.

Now more people are trying the cyclical keto approach, which allows for a couple of days of carb intake to be cycled in to the strict high-fat, low-carb ketogenic meal plan. Cycling carbs into your diet replenishes your body’s glucose reserve and helps fight cravings. Cyclical keto is thought to be better for boosting strength and muscle in addition to its weight loss benefits.

Intermittent fasting shakes things up

Intermittent fasting isn’t about depriving yourself of nutrients but cycling between periods of fasting and eating. It activates your body’s cell repair mechanism by forcing it out of its usual patterns. Your body adjusts hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible, insulin levels go down and cell growth and repair speeds up. All of these variables make it easier to lose weight and build muscle. Studies show it can be a good strategy for people who already have a nutritionally balanced diet and are physically active.

Here are 3 popular approaches to intermittent fasting.

16/8 method. Restricting your daily eating time to eight hours (say 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) with a 16-hour fast between (HINT: you’re asleep for half of that).

Eat-Stop-Eat. Incorporate 24-hour fasts twice a week. Eat as you normally do the rest of the time.

The 5:2 diet. Restrict your calories on two non-consecutive days of the week, then eat normally the other five days.

Turmeric, the anti-inflammatory super spice

If you love Indian food, you’ve probably eaten turmeric. In India, turmeric is a key ingredient in most curries and is recognized as both a spice and a medicinal herb. It contains a natural anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin that can help fight off diseases, decrease joint pain and more. Curcumin also encourages production of oxidant fighting enzymes and boosts growth hormones in the brain, which may prevent or delay brain diseases. It can reduce exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, promoting recovery and better performance. With all these positive health effects, no wonder turmeric is our new favourite spice.

The digital detox – logging off to enjoy life

Canadian adults estimate they spend as much as 90 percent of their time staring at a screen, including time on their mobile phone and other digital devices. The average person checks their phone 200 times a day - that's once every six and a half minutes.

Spending so much time connected online leaves us feeling anxious, tired, depressed and alone.

Although most people think they’re being more productive by making themselves available 24-7, the reality is regular breaks from technology can actually increase productivity and creativity.

That concept took off this year, as the idea of ‘digital detox’ became popular. More people made the conscious decision to power down and reconnect with nature, our own thoughts and friends and family than ever before.

Compression makes an impression

Compression sleeves have been hugging the arms and legs of NBA players and serious gym goers in recent months, but the actual benefits aren’t clear. Compression wear is supposed to enhance athletic performance by:

  • Improving speed and endurance and reducing recovery time
  • Minimizing muscle vibration and delaying fatigue
  • Compressing blood vessels to speed up blood flow, bringing more oxygen to the muscles and clearing away toxins that make you sore
  • Keeping muscles warm to help reduce post-exercise stiffness and prevent injury

There still isn’t a lot of research about compression wear outside of improving muscle recovery but if it makes you feel faster you will probably go faster. Compression wear looks good and boosts confidence, which can improve performance and endurance.