Whether you are a millennial, or you poke fun at millennials (you only get to be one or the other), what everyone can agree on is that one of the defining features of the twenty-something generation of today is an obsession with health and wellness culture.
And while there’s a lot about life that millennials can learn from their elders (that’s all you 35 year olds and beyond), it just so happens that there’s actually a thing or two that they might have to teach us.
Like how to be selfie-ready in any given situation. How to get a day’s worth of work, shopping and socializing done without ever getting out of bed. How to use Pokémon Go for hard core navigation skills training (in case of an apocalyptic GPS malfunction). How to lose weight and make healthier lifestyle choices while prioritizing overall wellness, balance, happiness and social connections.
And then how to brag about it all over the internet.
5 Things We Can Learn from Millennials about Health & Weight Loss
1. They mix fitness with pleasure.
“So what’s your workout?” is the new “what’s your sign?” “See you at the gym” is the new “see you at the bar.” “Let’s meet for spin class” is the new “let’s meet for dinner”.
Gyms and fitness centers aren’t just places to work out and get out for 20-somethings. They’ve also become epicenters for young adult life, doubling as social hotspots, cool hang outs, trendy pick up joints and nights out with friends.
According to a recent report by the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association, a higher percentage of 21 – 30 year olds belong to a fitness club than any other age category, and they’re spending far more time there on average than the generations before them. Millennials are integrating the gym into their regular daily routines, and making sure to have fun while doing it.
Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association found that millennials are more likely to participate in physical activity that has a joint focus on togetherness rather than competition, with millennial participation in group fitness like cycling and aerobics rising in proportion to other age groups. The growing trend of “social exercise” not only makes exercise more fun and enjoyable, but it also makes millies more accountable to actually show up regularly and follow through with their weekly exercise commitments, while making sure to truly bust a sweat while there, in order to save face in front of friends.
2. They’re more likely to use health & fitness tech.
Mobile apps and wearable devices are making it easier to track progress and stay motivated, keeping millies constantly vigilant about their food intake, step count, heart rate, water intake and more, all day long. They’re also not letting urban sprawl and small city spaces hold them back from being active, using online fitness sites and fitness e-vents to get exercise in the comfort of their homes, in small spaces with limited/no equipment. Technology is helping this generation stay on track and stay true to their personalized goals, diets and exercise programs.
The growing availability of online forums, communities and social media also help millies stay inspired and motivated to forge ahead with their health and fitness goals. Easy access to health experts, inspiring gurus and like-minded individuals provides cyber support and encouragement through the tough times, and lots of motivating likes and thumbs ups through the successes.
3. Their sweats are stylin’
Millennials have turned fitness clothing into fashion-forward casual wear. They’ve buoyed “athleisure” brands like LuluLemon and Fabletics into mass non-athlete popularity, donning them as trendy street wear for any occasion.
Just-coming-from-the-gym couture (even when you aren’t) not only reinforces the ideology that it’s cool to exercise, but it also makes it far more likely that you actually will exercise. Stylish, comfortable and functional athleisure makes it easier for millennials to squeeze in a workout whenever it’s convenient amidst busy schedules, while also encouraging them to move and be more comfortably active throughout the entire day.
4. They like it hot.
2016 was a flaming hot year as 20-somethings began obsessing over all things sriracha. Major chains like Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Subway and TGI Fridays began responding in kind, frantically spicing up their menus to capture the fickle hearts and fiery palates of millennials.
How does this help millies stay trim and slim? While slathering hot sauce all over your burger can’t undo greasy evils, research has shown that capsaicin, the plant compound that hikes up the heat in hot chili peppers, has some incredible health benefits. Capsaicin has been shown to act as an appetite suppressant, to encourage the body to burn more fat for energy, to lower blood pressure, to reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides, to decrease risks of heart disease, to increase energy and to reduce sensitivity to pain.
Learn more about how chili peppers can help you chisel away body fat.
5. They like their iPhones. A lot.
It may seem like the selfie generation is either busy taking photos of themselves, or else is busy posting those photos all over social media. And that’s because they are.
But while these youngins are often criticized for being totally self-absorbed, there’s something to all this that’s helping them stay on track with their health, diet and fitness. There are over 200,000,000 Instagram posts for #food and over 70, 000,000 posts for #gym. Millennials are using social media as their food and fitness diaries, but for the whole world to see. A recent U of Columbia nutrition study showed that people are more likely to stay committed to their health programs when chronicling their progress through photos.
Moreover, sharing your healthy meal photos, gym pics and gradually tightening body selfies to 500 different friends raises your personal bar. All those watchful eyes makes it less likely that you’ll risk the public shame of lapsing on your health goals and failure, even in those weak private moments. You’re more apt to fight that much harder to stick to your plan and succeed, knowing that the motivating reward of all those likes and encouraging thumbs ups and smileys to your continued health-centric success posts will follow.