Wellness is all the rage around the world, including in Hong Kong, as many people recommit to taking better care of themselves in every aspect of their lives – from body and mind to finances. Photo: Shutterstock

5 healthy habits that are trending across Hong Kong in 2022

  • As the fifth wave of Covid-19 subsides in the city, residents are paying more attention to their holistic wellness – physical, mental and financial
  • Prominent wellness trends that have been growing in popularity include long-distance running and using traditional remedies to boost immunity
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People around the world are doubling down on self-care and wellness, and who can blame them with the long global pandemic that we have all been going through? A June 2021 study by McKinsey & Company found that 40 per cent of the global population now consider wellness a top priority in their lives.

More Hongkongers have also been inspired to stay in shape and prioritise their physical, mental and financial well-being. Here are some of the prevalent and ongoing wellness trends that have been spotted across the city.

1. Everyone is going the distance with running

Many people in Hong Kong have become converts to running, seemingly overnight. It is as if the lack of travel, paired with social-distancing restrictions that kept everyone at home more, pushed people to find other ways to keep on moving as gyms and exercise studios had to shut down during the Covid-19 waves in the city.

“Running has been a major fitness trend during the pandemic, given it was one of the easiest ways to be active when other options like gyms or team sports were no longer feasible during the pandemic,” shoe review website RunRepeat explains.

Running became popular among many people during the Covid-19 pandemic when gyms and other exercise studios were required to shut down. Photo: Shutterstock
Last year, the company surveyed 2,494 people and found that their frequency of exercise – including running in particular – skyrocketed as they returned to the office after a period of working remotely.
In Hong Kong, resident Betty Grisoni, 52, has found that taking up trail running helped her gain better control over her mental health as she suffered from depression. “I found something to get out of my head and focus,” she says.

2. Turning to the outdoors and nature to soothe the mind

Studies have shown that the pandemic has had a negative impact on our emotional and mental well-being. One such study, conducted by researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland and published in 2021 in the specialist journal BMC Psychiatry, suggests that restricted movement patterns could be a factor.
Experts recommend doing outdoor activities, which have been found to help alleviate feelings of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from grief or loss. Hongkongers are taking note. Many have turned to hiking, turning up in huge numbers to enjoy the city’s picturesque nature trails.
Hong Kong residents are turning to nature to get a break from the city’s hustle and bustle – from hiking its nature trails to even forest bathing to reduce stress and anxiety. Photo: Shutterstock

Forest bathing – the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or “forest bath” – is a concept that is also catching on in Hong Kong. It involves “bathers” spending time in nature so their senses savour the feel, sights, smells and sounds of their surroundings. Hong Kong-based certified forest therapy guide Jasmine Nunns says: “The benefits of nature for our well-being are endless, from improving quality of sleep, mood and the cardiovascular system to reducing stress and anxiety.”

3. Traditional ways of boosting immunity

The pandemic has also put a spotlight on holistic remedies beyond Western drugs, particularly traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), as Hongkongers open themselves to different ways of boosting immunity.

This trend was reinforced when the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged that TCM can be beneficial in reducing the risk of progression from mild-to-moderate cases of Covid-19 to severe ones. The suggestion was contained in a report on a three-day meeting in February that looked at the value of using TCM to treat Covid-19.
Ancient remedies such as traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda became sought after as the population gravitated to tried-and-tested means of boosting their immunity. Photo: Shutterstock
Throughout the pandemic, Ayurveda – a 5,000-year-old natural medicine system that originated in India – has also been promoted as a means of relieving the symptoms of Covid-19, the flu and even the common cold. In addition, experts interviewed by the Post highlighted tulsi, or holy basil, as being effective in soothing a cough, and using cloves to get relief from throat pain and to build immunity.

4. Get a better handle on financial stress

The research has spoken: money is a source of anxiety for many people. A 2020 study designed by the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong found that 65.7 per cent of Hongkongers felt stressed about income or employment that year.

Experts have also suggested that the global economic uncertainty resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic has heightened pre-existing financial anxiety, which is significantly affecting our mental and physical well-being.
Money-related stress, which has been proven to have an impact on physical and mental health, can be lessened by improving financial literacy. Photo: Shutterstock

Improving our financial literacy can help lessen this stress. Annamaria Lusardi, founder and academic director of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Centre (GFLEC) at George Washington University in the US, advises that people tackle money issues head-on. “You solve the problem by taking charge of it … ignorance in finance is not bliss,” Lusardi says.

5. A little reward goes a long way

While being active and holistically healthy may come easier to some people than others, everyone could use an extra push to maintain this type of positive lifestyle. Rewarding yourself for regular workouts has proven to be a helpful way to stay motivated.

A large-scale study aimed at encouraging people to show up at the gym, which was published in the scientific journal Nature in December 2021, reported that receiving a tiny monetary reward at the right moment could play an outsize role in motivating people to exercise.
The wellness reward programme Well+, available on the HSBC HK mobile banking app, enables users to earn up to $2,000 RewardCash* by completing activities designed to bolster their physical, mental and physical well-being.

In Hong Kong, HSBC has made this method of motivation easily accessible with its wellness reward programme, Well+. Available on the HSBC HK mobile banking app, Well+ enables all HSBC customers to earn up to $2,000 RewardCash*. It works like a game, encouraging users to become physically, mentally and financially fitter by completing fun activities at each level.

Visit the Well+ website to learn more about the programme.



Disclaimer from HSBC:

Well+ is a joint programme co-branded by HSBC Life (International) Limited, incorporated in Bermuda with limited liability (“HSBC Life”), and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, incorporated in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“Hong Kong SAR”) with limited liability (“HSBC”), and is provided in the Hong Kong SAR only.

*For the potential earnings of up to $2,000 RewardCash, it is applicable to customers who are holding an in-force individual HSBC Life insurance policy only. Please refer to relevant T&Cs and frequently asked questions (FAQs) available on the Well+ website and on the “HSBC HK Mobile Banking” app for details.

Issued by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (incorporated in Hong Kong SAR with limited liability) and HSBC Life (International) Limited (incorporated in Bermuda with limited liability).