January 22, 2024

5 Health Trends to Watch in 2024

photo of Allie Baker

Written By

Allie Baker

photo of Vinita Tandon, MD

Medically Reviewed By

Vinita Tandon, MD

Lifeforce Medical Director

photo of Renae Thomas, MD, MPH

Medically Reviewed By

Renae Thomas, MD, MPH

Lifeforce Physician

5 Health Trends to Watch in 2024

Optimal health is a long-term commitment, but there are proven innovations that can give you a leg up. We scoured the research and spoke to experts to uncover the wellness and longevity trends that should be on your radar — in 2024, and beyond. 

5 Health & Longevity Trends to Watch

Contrast Therapy

1. Fire and Ice

Saunas are gaining steam, and increasing numbers of people are taking cold plunges. Combined, these two therapies provide powerful perks for heart health, immunity, and mood. 

The global sauna market is forecast to reach $4.6 billion in 2025, and cold therapies are nearly as hot — the cryotherapy market is on track to hit $392 million by 2030, and the cold plunge industry will be worth $400 million by 2028. At-home plunge pools are selling for up to $20,000, and an infrared sauna can go for $10,000. So why are people shelling out cold, hard cash to get sweaty, or to dunk themselves in freezing water?

The science behind hot and cold therapies is, well, cool. “A period of cold exposure causes a reflexive dopamine response that helps enhance mood, sharpens focus, and reduces anxiety,” says Ryan Greene, DO, MS, Lifeforce Physician and Medical Director of Monarch Athletic Club. Studies show that cryotherapy can help lower blood pressure, reduce post-workout inflammation, and ease chronic pain. Heat is no slouch either: In a study from Finland, people who regularly used saunas in addition to exercise saw improvements in cardiovascular risk factors, in addition to supporting their cognitive function, metabolic health, and immune system. 

Quickly alternating between hot and cold exposure — called contrast therapy — may be even more powerful. Research from 2023 shows that contrast therapy helps improve athletic performance, workout recovery, and anxiety. 

“I’ve seen contrast therapy used in the athletic community for nearly 20 years,” says Lifeforce Physician Leah Johansen, MD. “To see it now in the overall wellness world, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease — which is still the number one cause of mortality — is exciting.” 

Take Action to Optimize 

You don’t need to spend thousands on fancy equipment. Here’s what our experts suggest:

  • “If you live close to a body of water, take a morning dip when the weather is chilly,” Dr. Johansen says. Your local gym may offer access to a sauna or cold plunge, and wellness recovery centers are also popping up nationwide. 

  • At home, try a hot shower for three minutes, followed by a cold shower for one minute, and repeat three times, always ending with cold water. 

  • What to watch out for: Going overboard. Cold plunge can be a shock to the cardiovascular system, so start with shorter increments and ease in by running your arms and legs under cold water first. 

High-Tech Sleep Support

2. High-Tech Sleep Support 

If your sleep quality is going down as your age goes up, rest assured, it’s not just you. To combat this age-old issue and get the best rest in every decade, it’s time to wake up to sleep wearables. 

Studies show that starting in your 30s, your total amount of sleep decreases with a loss of approximately 10 minutes per decade, and your time in deep sleep decreases by up to two percent each decade up until age 60. “The ‘control center’ for sleep is in our hypothalamus, and as we age these cells age, too. They don’t do as good of a job maintaining our circadian rhythm,” says Lifeforce Medical Director Vinita Tandon, MD. 

We shouldn’t sleep on this issue because, according to Lifeforce Health Coach Serena Holtsinger, “Every aspect of our health is interwoven with our sleep patterns — from hormone signaling, to metabolic health, gut health, immunity, energy levels, mood, and more. If we picture our overall health as a house, quality sleep is the foundation that everything else is layered on.” 

To keep that foundation strong, Holtsinger recommends sleep wearables to track data like sleep time, sleep interruptions, body temperature, and heart rate. Nearly 20 percent of Americans already use wearables. The sleep device market surpassed $17.9 billion in 2022, and it’s expected to skyrocket another 18 percent by 2032.

We always hear to turn off devices before bed, so the idea of sleep tech can sound counterintuitive. The reality: “Being able to quantify sleep quality can be game changing,” Holtsinger says. “For example, after getting a wearable, most folks realize they've been overestimating the amount of sleep they're getting. This kind of insight is indispensable.” 

Take Action to Optimize 

Try Holtsinger’s top tips to sleep tight:  

  • Whoop and Oura offer best-in-class accuracy. They showcase how your physiology is adapting to stress and environmental factors.” When reviewing your data, ask yourself: How long does it take me to fall asleep? How much time do I spend awake? How much time am I spending in restorative vs. light sleep? Based on that info, you can make shifts to your routine. 

  • “While technology offers insights, it’s essential to remember the power of nature,” Holtsinger says. Align your sleep to nature’s rhythms by setting a consistent schedule, getting sunlight first thing, and minimizing artificial light exposure at night. 

  • What to watch out for: If you’re stressing over your stats, take time off from tracking. Data gathering should never get in the way of your sanity (or sleep).  

Strength Training and Healthy Aging

3. Strength Training for Healthy Aging 

Strength training was the second most popular wellness practice of 2023, says a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine, and it’s only getting bigger. If you’ve been resistant to resistance training, it’s time to throw your weight behind the trend — especially as you age. 

After age 30, you lose three to five percent of muscle mass per decade. “If you’re not actively doing things to put on muscle, you are losing it,” says Lifeforce Physician Russell Van Maele, DO.

Weight training is the number one way to combat this, and research makes a strong case for its benefits. “Strength training as we age helps improve and maintain mobility and independence, reduce chronic disease risk, and enhance healthspan,” says Lifeforce Physician Renae Thomas, MD, MPH. “It also increases lean muscle mass, which improves body composition.” Lean body mass is inversely proportional to mortality risk after 50. 

Another flex: “Resistance training is one of the best ways to raise testosterone levels, which leads to improved libido, insulin resistance, and adrenal hormones,” says Dr. Van Maele. This is especially important because both men and women lose testosterone with age. 

Take Action to Optimize

Depending on your fitness level and goals, aim for three to six days of weight training per week, with cardio, like walking or HIIT, on the other days. 

  • If you’re using free weights, prioritize compound movements such as squats and deadlifts. They work three to five muscle groups at once, “so you burn more calories in less time,” Dr. Van Maele says. 

  • Not comfortable with free weights yet? Start with machines such as a leg press or shoulder press. You can also ease in with bodyweight moves like lunges, squats, and push-ups. 

  • What to watch out for: Not refueling with adequate protein. “As you age, your ability to synthesize protein decreases,” Dr. Van Maele warns. “If you don't have enough, you’ll be in a state of muscle breakdown.” 

Make Space for Menopause

4. Making Space for Menopause 

In the past, women were taught to dread menopause — or not taught about it at all. Research shows that 90 percent of women reported not learning about menopause in school, and more than 60 percent felt unprepared. Thankfully, times are changing. 

Menopause treatment and women’s hormone health have surfaced as real needs in our society and women no longer feel alone,” says Lifeforce Physician Kimberly Hartzfeld, DO, OB-GYN. “Women are  advocating for themselves and looking for answers instead of dealing in silence.”

More and more women are proactively seeking treatment. A 2016 study found that 54 percent of respondents sought medical input or some treatment for their menopause symptoms. Research from 2023 showed that 86.9 percent of women used at least one therapy, with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) being the most common treatment among 70.4 percent of participants who received prescription therapies. 

Attitudes about hormone therapy are also shifting. “There has been more of a focus on hormone optimization in menopause over the past few years, not just for quality of life but also for disease prevention,” Dr. Hartzfeld says. She explains that in 2002, many women were taken off hormones due to a study that suggested HRT had negative health effects. However, the study was later re-analyzed and found to be flawed. New research shows that “hormone therapy started early in menopause can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the number one killer of women,” Dr. Hartzfeld notes. “Both physicians and patients are realizing now that hormones are vital to health and well-being.”

Take Action to Optimize 

“Menopause can be the best years of a woman’s life,” Dr. Hartzfeld says. “Don’t fall victim to your symptoms, take charge of your health!” Here’s how:

  • Look out for signs like irritability, sleep troubles, vaginal dryness, brain fog, dry and/or thinning skin, and joint pain. If you’re experiencing these things, seek help from a Lifeforce clinician.

  • Test your hormones with the Lifeforce Diagnostic. In perimenopause and menopause, levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone drop dramatically. The first step is knowing where you stand. 

  • What to watch out for: Starting too late. Dr. Hartzfeld says, “If you start on hormones early and stay on them for a short time, you get the maximum benefits for heart health, cognition, and bone health.”

The Healthspan Revolution

5. The Healthspan Revolution 

The global conversation is shifting away from lifespan and toward healthspan, with an emphasis on extending quality of life. “We are in the midst of a healthspan revolution,” says Lifeforce co-founder Peter Diamandis, MD. And the results can revolutionize your life.  

“Healthspan refers to the number of years lived without significant burden of chronic disease and disabilities of aging,” says Dr. Thomas. “Most people want to prolong the amount of time they are able to do the things they love, as opposed to simply living longer. Many years ago, I heard people saying they want to live to 100…now that is often followed with ‘in good health.’”

The key is to close the gap between our lifespan and healthspan. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is approximately 79 years. According to recent research from the World Health Organization, the average healthy life expectancy — without serious disease — is 63.1 years old. That means, on average, we live up to 20 percent of our lives unhealthy

Dr. Thomas and the rest of the Lifeforce team sees that changing. “I think the conversation will continue to grow on preventive measures — such as nutrition, physical activity, sleep optimization, and stress reduction — but also expand to include other preventive measures, such as supplementation and appropriate hormone replacement, and then continue into newer discussions around actually reversing aging,” she says.

Take Action to Optimize

Here’s how to make the healthspan revolution work for you:  

  • Take cues from Blue Zones, areas with the longest-lived, healthiest communities. Blue Zone residents lean toward plant-based diets and prioritize mindfulness and community. 

  • Compounds such as NMN and NAD+ are poised to change how we optimize healthspan, notes Dr. Thomas. Lifeforce’s Peak Healthspan™ boosts NAD+, which supports the activation of pro-longevity genes. 

  • What to watch out for: A negative mindset. “In part, how long you live is a function of your mindset. You can actively ‘will yourself to death’ or ‘will yourself to a longer healthspan,’” says Dr. Diamandis. He suggests striving for passions in life. A 2022 study found that having a purpose can add more than seven years to your healthspan.

This article was medically reviewed by: 

  • Renae Thomas, MD, MPH; ABFM Board Certified in Family Medicine, ABPM Board Certified in Public Health, & General Preventive Medicine; ABLM Board Certified in Lifestyle Medicine

  • Vinita Tandon, MD, ABIM Board Certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism 

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