Millennials are changing up health and wellness trends. Yoga, essential oils and a more digitized way of working out better suits this generation.
Teresa Brandenburg, assistant director of campus recreation, said it was difficult at first to identify the trends and make the switch to satisfy millennials’ needs.
“We struggled for some time to keep that group exercise trend going,” Brandenburg said.
Brandenburg has seen health trends change from generation to generation. For example, baby boomers were known for long, high-intensity workouts that target a specific muscle group. Now, younger generations work out the whole body, for shorter periods of time.
“We have 30-minute classes now, and we have high-intensity interval training,” Brandenburg said. “I don’t go completely by trends, but the trends are showing that those are what’s desired.”
Shorter gym time is attributed to millennials living fast-paced lives, Brandenburg said. She said they are interacting in overall health and fitness throughout their day by eating healthy, using apps and social media.
“This allows them to not have to spend hours in the gym,” Brandenburg said. “They prefer fun, innovative, fresh, short and effective exercise.”
The biggest difference between the millennial generation and the baby boomer generation is the social aspect. Older generations preferred big group exercises, while more current generations prefer social media when in the gym for that similar social aspect.
“The big trend that I’m seeing is that we are still on that social platform, but it’s more through the digital media,” Brandenburg said. “I see a lot more people in the gym with their phones, following a workout.”
She said she saw a lot of people sitting on a piece of equipment for a long time and wasn’t sure what they were doing. Turns out, they time themselves while they work out, and the apps they are using show them what to do and how long to do it for.
Another way to gauge the change in health and wellness trends is to look at new organizations that have popped up.
Orangetheory Fitness locations are just beginning to come into big cities across the nation after starting in 2010. What makes this gym different from the others? It uses science and technology to help people reach their desired results, according to the official website.
“Orangetheory is based on the science of EPOC, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption,” the website said. “If you challenge your body at the right intensity, your body will work harder to recover oxygen lost during exercise. This revs your metabolism and makes you burn calories long after your workout is over.”
The gym also sells their own brand of heart rate trackers and other technology to “help you scale the workout to your unique fitness level.”
Classes at Orangetheory are one hour long, staying in tune with the short workout millennials are accustomed to.
Senior Kristin Tuter, psychology and gerontology major, started practicing yoga in 2009.
“Everyone is going more natural and holistic,” Tuter said. “Yoga is nothing new, we’ve just Westernized it, and it has really picked up.”
Tuter is a yoga instructor at three different studios across Springfield and has taught at seven studios throughout her yoga career.
“I didn’t like my body, I didn’t like who I was,” she said. “I had a lot of hate inside of me.”
The further she went through her yoga journey, Tuter said she was able to find self love.
“Yoga, for me, has been therapy,” Tuter said. “It’s helped me love myself for who I am and who I used to be.”
Tuter said yoga helped her overcome her depression in a natural way. She used to take medication, but now it is not needed. Through movements Tuter said she’s found healing — these positive effects have made yoga become popular in a fast-paced world, she said.
Traditional yoga is designed to relax your body and slow everything down, according to Tuter. She said if someone were looking for a way to burn calories and get a smaller waistline, a cardio yoga session is a good fit.
To keep up with new millennial health trends, in 2011 the Foster Recreation Center implemented new programs and different classes, such as group personal training.
“That’s something that we have adopted because we have that social aspect, but maybe we don’t want to be in a large group with strangers,” Brandenburg said. “But we want to work out with our friends.”
Unlike previous generations, Brandenburg said millennials are being holistic and proactive about their health, as well as eating better.
“Since the incline and awareness of mental health, that’s probably one of the major reasons why we are assuming the yoga and the meditation, the essential oils and the massage therapy,” Brandenburg said.
Brandenburg is still seeing different generations weightlifting, but for a shorter amount of time than before.
“We’re not in the gym all day, we’re not doing classes back to back — we’re hitting it 20 to 30 minutes and then we’re done,” Brandenburg said.
The importance in all of this, according to Brandenburg, is the mindfulness. However, she isn’t positive that mindfulness is an adaptation through the new generation, or if there’s just an increased awareness of it.
Besides both generations becoming more mindful, the baby boomers focus on increasing their lifespan, instead of improving their mental health, according to Brandenburg’s research.
“We may not have eaten as healthy, we may not have adopted the consciousness that the younger generations are right now, but we are trying to play catch up,” Brandenburg said.
Baby boomers’ goal is to remain healthy and active so they can have a healthy retirement.
Due to millennials being more conscious about their health than generations before them, they aren’t letting fiscal struggles stop them from putting their health first.
“One thing I just found out through the Athletic Business Conference, (is that) millennials are not making as much money as our generations have, but they have no problem with spending a lot of money on health, wellness and fitness,” Brandenburg said.
Citing a study done by My Protein, a British online retailer that specializes in sports nutrition and clothing, Market Watch reports the average American spends $155 per month on their health and fitness.
“That’s $112,000 in their entire lifetime, and $13,000 more than a public four-year college education which averages about $98,440,” Market Watch said.
Brandenburg also attributes this push to be healthy and mindful to social media.
Now that the water has settled after a health and wellness changeup, there might be a pebble thrown into the pond again.
“We are into the next generation with the freshmen (at Missouri State),” Brandenburg said. “The millennials are going to be the senior generation soon.”
Health and wellness researchers will now have to wait and see what the next generation has in store.
Some official sources, like the Pew Research Center, say the majority generation currently in college are technically classified as Gen Z, not millennials. Contradicting sources, like the U.S. Chamber Foundation, say college-aged students are in fact millennials. However, the United States Census Bureau currently does not recognize any other generation besides the baby boomers.