Every January provides the opportunity to start anew. It also marks a time when people are more willing to explore new concepts of health and wellness. Here’s a look at some of the top wellness trends and how to try them in Calgary.
Fun group fitness
Improving physical condition is one of the main New Year’s resolutions. For many reasons, people fear exercise, but it is a more engaging activity when viewed as a game or an opportunity to connect socially.
The pickleball craze is alive and well in Calgary. This racket sport is classified as a moderate aerobic activity. It is both slower and easier to learn than tennis. A good place to start is the Calgary Pickleball Club. In addition to offering recreational and competitive games, lessons, and clinics, they have a full list of public indoor pickleball facilities.
Although it has been around since the 19th century, badminton is touted as the next pickleball. Badminton requires precise racket work and aerobic endurance. Searches for the sport, its racket and its clothing are increasing with the force of an overhead hit, especially among younger people on Pinterest. See Badminton Calgary for a list of public and private clubs.
For the kind of old-fashioned fun you had when you were a kid (and didn’t realize you were exercising), look to Recess Calgary. Each week offers different games, the kind you probably played in gym class. Within an hour, you’ll have played three or four group games, met new people, and gotten your heart rate up.
Contrast therapy: Alternating between hot and cold treatments, such as water or hot and cold compresses, has many benefits, although individual responses vary. (Those with medical conditions, especially cardiovascular-related, should consult with a health professional first.)
Considered to reduce muscle pain, swelling and inflammation and improve joint circulation and mobility, this practice is not new. However, stressing the body through intense heat and cold is no longer limited to expensive Nordic outdoor spas and multimillion-dollar homes. People are now installing their own patios and bathrooms, and smaller, more accessible wellness clinics now offer contrasting hydrotherapy cycles.
If you don’t want others to witness how long a cold soak takes you (or is it just me?), Marda Loop’s Redox Wellness offers a private infrared sauna and cold soak room that can be rented by the hour. The facility also offers a cold plunge room (15-minute rental), private sauna rooms, and floatation therapy.
To find a supportive environment, check out Calgary’s Cold Dip community. They meet every Sunday at 1:30 p.m. in Bowness Park. (Daylight saving time differs). Follow the group on Instagram @ColdDipCalgary for updates.
Mobility training focuses on improving flexibility, joint range of motion, and overall functional movement patterns. It’s always been around, but it’s particularly trendy now thanks to the popularity of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes. Athletes are realizing that mobility is key to faster recovery times. Members of Generation X and Boomers who have had an injury in the past or who are becoming stiffer as they age realize that mobility work is necessary to maintain their body’s range of motion.
Mobility is important because it’s the foundation for gaining strength and power, says Helen Vanderburg, a Calgary fitness expert and co-owner of The Academy.
“The first phase of training should always be mobility. Unfortunately, people often jump right into strength and power training without functional mobility. Mobility is very important because you need to have the full range of motion and control around the joint. When you have that, you can add load, speed and power and not cause injuries,” he explains.
While specific mobility classes are offered at The Academy, their yoga, Pilates-infused core, and body sculpting (bodyweight training based on functional movement patterns) classes also incorporate mobility movements. Additionally, the City of Calgary offers stretching and restorative classes at its gyms throughout the city.
People are adopting more sustainable lifestyles due to environmental concerns and ethical values, but also because of the economic benefit that sustainable practices bring.
To save money and single-use plastic packaging, opt for the bulk container. The Amaranth Whole Foods Market location in Southland offers monthly sales on bulk items. Through Community Natural Foods’ Bulk Sunday program, members can save 15 percent on regular-priced bulk items every Sunday. And bring your own container (doing your part to reduce packaging waste). You’ll receive a credit that you can donate to your local charity monthly, which Community Natural Foods matches.
At home, it’s a good idea to stock your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before heading to the grocery store, as food waste contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions. Take advantage of apps like Too Good to Go, which connects shoppers with stores offering surplus food at deep discounts.
For fitness devotees, gently used (and even never worn) sportswear can be found at most thrift stores. Parents with growing children can purchase used sports equipment at Play It Again Sport and 2nd Chance Sports.
Before fully embarking on a new activity, consider renting the equipment a few times to see if it is necessary. Try out skis, skates, kayaks, paddleboards and canoes, plus camping and fishing gear from the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre. For cyclists, bikes, luggage racks and travel cases can be rented from Bowcycle.