Wellness is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the travel industry and in the UAE, we’re no stranger to it. We work hard, we lead busy lives and most of us are stressed. The Emirates is leading the way when it comes to spa growth, but we’re also turning to healthy holidays to help us recharge the batteries when go abroad. International wellness holiday company Health and Fitness Travel has seen bookings from the Middle East increase by 50 per cent in the past two years, as many clients look to spend from seven to 28 days taking care of themselves in popular destinations such as Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Bali and Vietnam.
On the back of this week’s Arabian Travel Market, Health and Fitness Travel has released the top trends in wellness travel for 2016.
For more information, visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com
The emerging science of DNA fitness testing can help determine the best type of physical activity and nutrition for your body by finding out factors such as whether you are prone to injury, the speed of your metabolism and any underlying intolerances, explains Paul Joseph, co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel. For example, you may have been slogging it out in regular spinning classes for very few results, only to discover that your body is better suited to low-impact activities, such as yoga and walking.
Where to try it: 38 Degrees North (Ibiza, Spain), Epic Sana (Portugal) and The BodyHoliday (St Lucia)
Bleisure and healthy sabbaticals for workplace wellness
In today’s world of connectivity, people are more stressed than ever but thankfully many companies are realising the need to take care of their employees’ health. This has led to a rise in workplace wellness programmes, including healthy sabbaticals and bleisure travel – mixing business with leisure. There has also been an increase in popularity of longer retreats that give stressed employees the time to recharge the batteries and learn how to lead a more balanced lifestyle.
Where to try it: Lefay (Italy) and Kamalaya (Thailand)
Oxygen therapy and fitness training
Oxygen supplementation is said to lessen the effects of exhaustion and the lack of focus and vitality caused by poor cellular oxygenation, which has given rise to oxygen-boosted fitness training. This is even more relevant for those who live in areas of high air pollution and those who suffer from allergies. Catering to the demand, wellness retreats from Europe to Asia are starting to incorporate hypoxic training in their programmes. “Oxygenated fitness training is also on the rise, with oxygen-boosted workouts allowing the body to perform to its peak in a constant aerobic state,” Joseph says.
Where to try it: La Clairere (France), Chiva Som (Thailand) and SHA Wellness Clinic (Spain).
Meditation is well recognised as a way to reduce stress, increase self-awareness and mindfulness and enhance emotional intelligence, but it can be hard for people to get started, which is why there has been an increased focus on workshops that encourage mindful walking, working and eating. “Allowing us to practise the self-awareness of meditation while on the move, this healthy lifestyle exercise helps even the busiest of minds experience the inner peace of focusing purely on the present,” explains Joseph.
Where to try it: Shreyas (India), Longevity (Portugal) and SwaSwara (India)
As lives become more demanding and couples postpone starting a family until later in life, there has been a increase in fertility issues. But now, couples are looking for ways to reduce stress and boost their chances of conceiving naturally through programmes that incorporate nutrition, spa therapies and mindfulness practices, such as yoga and meditation.
Where to try it: SHA Wellness Clinic (Spain), The Chateau (Malaysia) and Ti Sana (Italy)
Healthy solo travel, not just for singles
Companies have targeted solo travellers for years, but it’s not just for singles, says Joseph. “Even those in relationships are now looking to travel solo for the opportunity to focus on their individual wellness goals, whether on a yoga retreat or fitness bootcamp,” he says. This type of travel works particularly well for couples with incompatible travel styles and priorities.
Where to try it: The BodyHoliday (St Lucia), Absolute Sanctuary (Thailand) and 38 Degrees North (Ibiza)
As travellers become more concerned about the environment, they are looking for experiences that have as little impact as possible. Joseph says many luxury spas are now offering products made from natural ingredients and treatments in a natural setting. “Often sourced from local organic produce, the rise of the natural beauty treatment is heightened by the experience of spa treatments in the outdoors, using natural products,” he explains.
Where to try it: Paradis Plage (Morocco), Lefay (Italy) and Karkloof Safari Spa (South Africa)
Back to nature
Anyone who lives in a city can go to a gym, but not everyone can work out in nature. There has been a huge trend towards outdoor functional fitness, such as beach bootcamps, in recent years and this has also been reflected in travel. “Making the most of their stunning natural surroundings, more fitness holidays are offering jungle gym circuit training, beach bootcamp workouts and guided coastal swimming,” Joseph says. “For those looking to push their limits, a rise in fitness holidays offering triathlons and even quadrathlons allows outdoor fitness fanatics to cover a variety of terrains, with beach running, jungle biking, ocean kayaking and abseiling.”
Where to try it: Wildfitness Zanzibar (Tanzania), The BodyHoliday (St Lucia) and Red Mountain Resort (Utah)
Healthy foodie holidays
Many people travel to sample local cuisines, but healthy travellers are also looking to learn skills that can be taken home and used long after their holiday is over. As a result, many wellness retreats now offer healthy cooking classes in addition to healthy cuisine made with produce from an on-site organic farm of garden. “With a range of healthy diet and nutrition options at retreats around the world, healthy foodies can choose tailor-made wellness meal plans, including alkaline, Ayurvedic, macrobiotic or raw-food diets,” Joseph explains. He also adds that soup cleanses are replacing juicing for those in search of a detox.
Where to try it: Sianji Well-Being Resort (Turkey), Ananda in the Himalayas (India) and Ti Sana (Italy)
Source: art & life