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Kendal at Oberlin Blog

Self-Improvement Trends

Posted by Molly Kavanaugh on Dec 26, 2017 10:00:00 AM

kao-self-improvement-1.jpgHappier and Healthier.

Many of us start the new year with a resolution or informal intention to improve our body, either physically or emotionally, or both. We may use words other than “healthy” and “happy,” but in broad strokes, those qualities often underlie our personal self-improvement goals.

We try the same old – join a gym, keep a gratitude journal – but that can lead to boredom and often not produce the results we want.  But what about an activity that is new, maybe even novel? That might be more effective, and even fun.

Pottery? An hour in a float tank? Working with a personal trainer? Those are just a few things trending for 2018 when it comes to getting your body and mind in better shape. You may be past the age of wanting to be trendy, but being willing to try something new, well, that’s a sign of healthy aging.

“Pottery is the New Yoga”

That’s the headline on a Vogue article in January. “It’s very meditative. It turns off a higher level of thinking. You have to let go and give in to the unpredictability of it. You can go in with an idea of what you want to make, and the clay doesn’t want to do that,” explains John Sheppard.

Adds another potter, “Hours can pass without thinking or caring about anything else—that’s what is known as the ‘potter’s nod’.”

Last month The New York Times weighed in with its “Pottery is the New Pilates” article.

“Ceramics has attracted so many new makers because it is such an engaging practice. You put clay on the wheel. It gives you a little fight and you get past it and there is this object,” says Jenni Lukasiewicz, Education Coordinator of the Greenwich House Pottery, which saw a surge in class attendance this fall (students ranging in age 18 to 95).

Check with your local community college, community center or arts center to find a beginner pottery class, or google “pottery classes in (your city).”

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Learn how Kendal at Oberlin residents express their creativity here.

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“Is Floating the New Meditation?”

Yes, we’re seeing a trend here, as new is certainly in. This headline, from Yoga Journal, highlights the benefits of spending time at a float therapy spa.

Explains writer Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman, “You know how relaxing it is when you finally make the time to take a long soak in the bath? Imagine stepping into a tub the size of a walk-in closet, adding 1,000 or more pounds of Epsom salt, turning off the lights and soundproofing the room, and matching the water temperature exactly to the temperature of your skin. Now, you’re floating, literally. And this womb-like experience just might be the ‘new’ way to meditate.”

True REST Float Spa in Rocky River, Ohio, says floating offers physical and mental benefits including increased blood circulation, decreased pain from arthritis and other conditions, improved sleep and stress relief.

One of the biggest concerns from users is – can I drown if I can’t swim or fall asleep? The water is only 10 inches deep and the highly concentrated Epsom salt solution keeps the person buoyant.

Physical Fitness Trends for 2018

For the past 12 year's, the editors of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal® (FIT) have circulated an electronic survey to thousands of professionals around the world to determine health and fitness trends.

The top 20 trends for the next year are almost all repeats from previous years, though their rankings may vary.

Here are the top 10 trends for 2018:

  1. High-intensity interval training
  2. Group training
  3. Wearable technology
  4. Body weight training
  5. Strength training
  6. Educated and certified fitness professionals
  7. Yoga
  8. Personal training
  9. Fitness programs for older adults
  10. Functional fitness

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Related: Start the New Year with a Fitness Plan

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What activity would be new for you to try? If you always workout alone in the gym, maybe this is the year to join a group exercise class or work with a personal trainer.  Maybe you are concerned about falling or failing arm strength. Develop a program, either alone or with a professional, to focus on your area of concern.

Using a fitness tracker is a good way to stay motivated and keep your fitness goals on target. There are lots of products to choose from, featuring monitors that track heart rate and sleep, even count strokes and laps.  

So, what’s going to be new for you in the New Year? What are your self-improvement goals?

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In the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.

Topics: Healthy Aging

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