Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to healthy living, experts say we each need to find the balance that works best for us
What does wellness mean to you? It is defined as an active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life. It means more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.
The global wellness industry is worth an estimated £3 trillion annually, and hitting peak wellness means much more than occasionally dabbling in yoga or buying organic lettuce. These days, there’s even the option of going right down to genetic level in order to reach your full potential.
‘Bespoke’ is the modern buzzword, and in a world where we can personalise everything from our luggage to our lunches, our wellness has also inevitably got to be something we define and own. Creating a diet and training plan based on your gene variants used to be the preserve of elite athletes,; however, the new, game-changing affordability of DNA testing means that ‘precision’ or ‘personalised’ fitness is now going mainstream.
According to research from digital health venture fund, Rock Health, since 2011 more than £1.5 billion has been raised to fund companies that use predictive analytics based on your genes. Science shows that our DNA really can tell us how best to diet and exercise, and London’s top gyms and training centres are leading this trend for targeted, DNA-based advice.
Plush gym, Third Space, proudly claims that it “doesn’t do inductions”, and instead offers its members an “Out/Set assessment.” Even their basic plan includes a biometric body scan, and those opting for the premium service make their way to the on-site medical centre to give a blood sample that will be screened for hormone and adrenal function, as well as any food allergies and intolerances (from £500).
Third Space’s saliva swab scans for 45 gene variants which link to how the body responds to food and exercise, including sensitivity to carbs, salt and saturated fats, as well as caffeine and alcohol metabolism (testing starts at £200)
If that sounds too pricey, DIY home testing kit FitnessGenes comes with the tagline “it’s time to stop guessing and get started on your new body.” Once you’ve spat into a test tube and sent it off with a questionnaire, a team of geneticists, medical doctors, exercise scientists and nutritionists will draw up various DNA-specific workout and diet plans for you (the DNA Collection Kit costs £129).
“There are certain genes that indicate whether a person would be better off with a certain diet or with low-volume, high-intensity workouts,” says Dr. Dan Reardon, CEO and co-founder of FitnessGenes. “Most diet plans fail because the regime isn’t relevant to what people need to achieve their goals. When it’s based on your DNA, you feel more empowered and more inclined to stick with it.”
If this sounds a bit futuristic, experts say this kind of testing will only going to becomes more prevalent and accessible, and soon everyone will be making choices based on their DNA. When it comes to wellness, knowledge really is power.