As a nation, we’re becoming increasingly focused on our health and attuning ourselves to our bodies.

Statistics from the Global Wellness Institute concluded that in 2015 the global wellness economy was worth $3.7trillion with the areas of nutrition, wellness tourism, fitness and mindfulness being in the top five sectors of spend.

But what is driving this market and how could you create a rural business out of this growing sector?

Growing trends in the UK

  1. The rise in boutique fitness offerings

More and more we are seeing people move towards the ‘personal’ experience when it comes to exercise. Rather than buying into a standard, all-encompassing gym membership that can seem very impersonal, people are being drawn towards options where they feel they are being looked after, well respected and are going to get the most from their money.

See also: Sport and leisure business ideas

This can come in a variety of forms, whether its boutique gyms, retreats, boot camps, personal training or bespoke classes, but it’s a place people can go to and feel like they belong rather than just being another number.

  1. Mindfulness and meditation

We can’t get away from the fact that people these days are running busy lives. Trying to fit in family, work and other commitments are increasingly difficult to achieve, we all seem to be strapped for time. But, we are starting to see more people in search of a better work-life balance and adopting different tools and techniques to achieve this. As a result, meditation, mindfulness and yoga for example, where people have the opportunity to relax and unwind, even if it’s for just an hour, are on the up. You can even take sleep class for 30 minutes in some gyms.

See also: Case study - On-farm specialist Pilates studio open for business

  1. The return of traditional sports

When I was at school, outdoor sports such as cross-country and orienteering, where part of the Physical Education curriculum. These sports encouraged us to be in the great outdoors and now we are seeing this trend come back around.

As a nation people are seeking the thrill of being out in the fresh air and exploring the countryside rather than just exercising in the gym. Hiking, running and cycling are sports that are all returning as popular favourites along with team sports.

We can also attribute this to the fact that people are wanting to have fun with their exercise with a sense of togetherness, hence the rise in the popularity of events such as Mud Run and Wolf Run. These events are accessible for anyone to have a go at and at the end of the day are fun to take part in.

Factors driving health and wellbeing trends?

The health and wellbeing sector is one that is very much influenced by the latest craze. Whether that be the latest fitness class that claims to burn 20% more fat or a beauty treatment that is set to make you look 10 years younger overnight.

However, behind all this, there has to be factors that are driving these trends to be so popular, and equally a market for companies to believe they can target specific products or services. Understanding this is vital if you’re considering setting up a business in this area.

See also: Keeping your leisure and sport business legal

For example, we are seeing a rise in those who are 50/60+ looking to keep fit and active. People are more informed about the benefits and people are staying younger for longer. Consequently, this is a growing market that we can’t ignore. It is only going to grow as the ageing population lives for longer and there lies a huge opportunity for businesses to capitalise on.

Another factor driving a lot of trends in health and wellbeing is people looking for a lifestyle change. Rather than being caught up in the ‘rat race’, people are wanting to take back time for themselves and start to understand their bodies more. They are looking to achieve a holistic approach when it comes to health; nutrition and diet, mental and physical health. Understand this and again it could be a gateway to a niche business that taps into this driving force.

And then we have the rise in influential bloggers. The online community offered by these people is a real draw. Bloggers offer advice, information, recipes and much more that web users can access easily and feel as if they are part of a community of like-minded people, many of whom may be on a similar journey.

The health and wellbeing sector is huge and things move very quickly. However, it’s an industry where there is always going to be demand.

For those looking to start a rural business within this area, ensure you research your business case very thoroughly. It’s a competitive market, but get it right and you could be onto a winner. For rural businesses, the rise in people seeking activities outside or for rural escapes and retreats could be a real opportunity.s

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