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Trend alert: Workouts, diets and apps that made a splash in 2018

Anyone who keeps up with the wellness industry knows how quickly recommendations change from day to day. Something touted as safe and healthy one minute may soon be deemed useless or even harmful. 

The influx of conflicting information isn't likely to stop anytime soon, but one thing is certain: the wellness industry continues to evolve and offer new insights and ideas.

In 2018, health news went beyond just offering suggestions for kale recipes and pomegranate juice. The trends dove deeper into our bodies and minds, with new ideas for workouts, apps, products and more.

1. Focusing on inflammation

This year, health professionals increasingly urged patients to focus on fighting inflammation rather than worrying about their waistlines. Inflammation occurs when our immune systems are activated to protect and heal cells following injury, irritation or chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Diet can factor into inflammation, and eating plans such as last year's "The Plant Paradox" garnered popularity, with celebrity endorsements and ample success stories stemming from its lectin-averse diet recommendations.

2. LISS > HIIT workouts

For some, CrossFit and other forms of high-intensity interval training are the best ways to exercise. For others, the opposite may be true.

Recently, low-intensity steady state workouts, also known as LISS, have been getting attention. Think leisurely laps in the pool, half an hour on the elliptical or an uphill walk on the treadmill. The workouts are achievable, not intimidating, and perfect for someone who wants to sweat without pain or discomfort. Plus, low-intensity exercise fights inflammation rather than contributing to it, as many high-intensity workouts can.

3. CBD-infused beverages

The CBD-infused Gentle Monk cocktail. | Photo: Bluebird Brasserie/Facebook

CBD products are hardly new, but more eateries are now putting the cannabis-derived ingredient on their menus.

This year, we saw more lattes, cocktails and beverage and food items containing cannabidiol (aka CBD), a cannabis compound that, unlike THC, does not make people feel high, but can be used to treat ailments such as inflammation and anxiety. 

In Brooklyn, New York, for instance, there's The Caffeine Underground, which brews CBD-infused coffees, cappuccinos and more. And in Los Angeles, mixologists experimented with CBD oil in cocktails at Bluebird Brasserie.

Customers are increasingly indulging in CBD drinks and edibles, and businesses are accommodating the demand with CBD-infused snacks, smoothies and more. As always, proper dosing is of the utmost importance — which means safely managing just how much CBD one takes.

 4. Self-care apps

The mental health space saw huge improvements in terms of tech-fueled resources to manage time, anxiety and self-care practices. This year, digitally savvy consumers made sure to find new ways to relieve anxiety (with Headspace), set reminders to take care of themselves (with Aloebud) and stayed on task by reducing time on social media (with Moment).

5. Kombucha bars

Apple-cilantro probiotic drink. | Photo: Gyst Fermentation Bar/Yelp

In 2018, people didn’t only buy this bubbly, fermented drink at the health food store. Gut health was a priority in the wellness world, with kombucha bars popping up in major cities across the country. There's GYST Fermentation Bar in Minneapolis, for example, which serves a whole menu full of fermented food and drinks.

Kombucha bars have become an industry on their own, offering the same appeal as craft breweries with the added bonus of catering to your digestive system.