At-home sauna blankets, skiing in your living room and, yes, eye yoga: get ready to try this year’s health and fitness obsessions
1. Eye yoga
Just the ticket for Zoom-fatigued faces, eye yoga uses tiny movements to stretch, move and gently massage the eyes and surrounding muscles, helping to release tension. “Our eyes are always on the go, though we never stretch out the muscles that do all the work as we would our quads after squats or our hamstrings after a run,” says Chatty Dobson, a yoga teacher and the owner of Flex Chelsea fitness studio. “It’s great to do after a long day spent looking at a screen.” Less is best when it comes to exercising your eyes: tiny movements such as looking up, down, left and right for 10 seconds each, gently kneading the brow bone and “palming” (cupping your hands over your eyes) are all extremely effective, quick and easy to do.
Try Koya Webb’s five-minute online guide (koyawebb.com) every time you feel the strain.
CrossFit may have been all the rage in the past few years, but a new trend from America is set to be just as popular. GlideFit isn’t so much about the workout itself but where it’s performed: at your local swimming pool or gym. Stability exercises, yoga and even HIIT units done while standing or sitting on a floating fitness mat combine functional workouts with balance training, meaning stronger muscles and improved co-ordination. Just try not to fall in.
Try Aquaphysical runs FloatFit classes all over the UK (aquaphysical.com), using similar methods to GlideFit (glidefit.com).
3. Digital ski coaching
With the ski season largely cancelled due to Covid, “digital skiing” is now on the horizon. The Alpine Ski VR game played on the Oculus Rift S headset (£299; johnlewis.com) lets you swoop down the slopes in the comfort of your home. Or you could do it via Google Cardboard goggles (from £15; arvr.google.com) and your smartphone and download a ski-simulation game from Google Play or the App Store. Meanwhile, the “digital ski coach” Carv improves your technique with real-time professional audio coaching. Slip the super-thin insoles (each fitted with 36 pressure sensors) into your boots, clip on the tiny battery pack and off you swoosh! Information about your balance, pressure and speed is all relayed via Bluetooth to an app on your phone. Launched in 2017, the company said at the end of last year that sales had doubled compared with 2019.
Try Order Carv online (£349; getcarv.com).
From left: Gaga dancers at the Place in London; relax in a HigherDose infrared sauna blanketCAMILLA GREENWELL (THEPLACE.ORG.UK)
4. Gaga classes
No, this has nothing to do with the singer — Gaga is a dance practice developed by the Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. Recommended by Gwyneth Paltrow — who included a 30-minute Gaga class in her last In Goop Health wellness summit — Gaga teaches you how to “expand your palette of available movement options” and “discover the virtue of silliness”. More about learning to enjoy the feeling of different physical sensations and postures than mastering a specific set of moves, Gaga is easy and a great tension reliever (if you can get over feeling a bit ridiculous).
Try The hour-long class at Siobhan Davies Studios in south London (£12; siobhandavies.com).
5. Infrared sauna blankets
Somewhere between an at-home sauna and a sleeping bag, infrared sauna blankets have been hailed as being able to improve a sluggish metabolism, relieve sore muscles and even strengthen your immune system. Set up the blanket on your bed, plug it in and wait for it to warm up before wrapping yourself in it for anything up to 40 minutes (put on a chilled-out playlist to pass the time). Usually costing between £400 and £500, they’re an investment buy, but worthwhile if you want to feel like you’re at a spa without actually leaving the house.
Try The HigherDose Infrared Sauna Blanket V3 (£469; higherdose.com). Endorsed by the wellness warriors at Goop, it has an internal layer that includes charcoal to amplify detoxification.
6. Upcycled snacking
This year expect to see more choice in upcycled foods, which are repurposing what would be wasted items as the star ingredient in new, health-conscious and eco-friendly products.
Try Rubies in the Rubble, a collection of condiments and relishes made from vegetables rejected by others in the food-supply chain for being the wrong shape, size or colour (from £3; rubiesintherubble.com). Or the snacks by Barnana, which turns bananas deemed too oddly shaped to be sold into moreish bites, including chocolate and peanut-butter-covered varieties (£55 for 12 packets; ninelife.uk).
From left: stress-relieving ear seeds; the new Curve regime at One Ldn
7. Ear seeds
If you’re feeling anxious, tired or strung out (and let’s face it, after a year like 2020, that’s most of us), listen to what people are saying about ear seeding — the placing of tiny beads on the pressure points in your ears to release tension. Kate Moss and Penélope Cruz are both fans, and many devotees of this form of auricular acupressure, which is based on traditional Chinese medicine, say ear seeds go even further than reducing stress — they’ve been reported as relieving everything from acne to migraines and addiction issues.
Try They are widely available online, but the 24-carat gold ear seeds from Vie Healing (£29; cultbeauty.co.uk) have had good reviews.
8. Menstrual-cycle workouts
Forget fitting in a workout around your busy work schedule — these days, it’s about tailoring your fitness regime to your menstrual cycle. One Ldn fitness club’s newest programme, Curve, lasts for eight weeks, pushing you hard when your body is at its most able and highlighting when rest and recovery should take priority. Also included in the remotely led programme is guidance on nutrition, video workout tutorials and weekly check-ins to track your progress. “Professional female athletes use menstrual-cycle tracking with their training as a powerful tool to enhance their performance,” says the club’s founder, Evgenia Koroleva. “We want women to take control of their bodies.”
Try The Curve programme launches in mid-January (£350; oneldn.com).