How to bring sustainability into your workouts
If you’re reading this, you’re probably implementing plenty of eco-friendly habits into your day-to-day life already.
If you, like many, realize the immediate need to become conscious of how our lives impact the world we share, then finding ways to bring sustainability to your workouts is something you’ve likely thought about.
That said, there isn’t a whole lot of information available on how to do this.
What is sustainable fitness?
Sustainable fitness is somewhat of a mixed bag in terms of its definition.
While it includes caring for our planet, it also includes working toward a fitter version of our mind, soul, and (of course) body.
Sustainable fitness means cutting out toxic elements from not only our fitness regime but also our own lives.
From physical toxins to emotional ones, sustainable fitness allows us to become a positive force for change in the world around us by eliminating negative attributes within ourselves.
In our quest to achieve an improved self, the way that we care for our planet is inevitably affected positively.
While I am going to focus on means to reduce the impact of your workouts on the environment in this post, I highly recommend focusing on yourself too.
Start With Yourself
As I mentioned above, it is impossible to initiate sustainable change in the world around us if your 'self' is suffering from toxic behavior, habits, or thoughts.
Remember, you should be the change that you want to see in the world - that includes being the cleanest, healthiest, and happiest version of yourself!
Wear sustainable clothing
From sustainable sources to recycled material, getting kitted sustainably is incredibly easy. Brands are becoming increasingly aware of the demand to bring sustainability to fitness.
I could go on and on about all the brands doing incredible work in their sustainable fitness apparel lines, but The Good Trade has created a list of their top ten sustainable fitness apparel lines, and honestly, it’s hard to argue with them.
If you’re looking to support local, it’s always a great idea to hop on social media and ask about local brands producing eco-friendly clothing.
In my immediate area, I’ve found two amazing women who have started up their businesses during the pandemic, who create phenomenal items from completely sustainable materials.
Eat in a sustainable way
Much like sustainable fitness, sustainable eating is something that considers both the health of the planet, as well as your health and wellbeing.
Here are my top tips for eating more sustainably:
- The smaller, the better. Farmers' markets and grocery stores that source their goods locally are (generally) significantly better for the environment. From deforestation as a means to acquire more agricultural land to the pesticides used in large, commercial crops, larger food sources are the first thing you should cut out of your diet.
- Eat sustainably fished seafood. Over 75% of fisheries are overfished. This means that the way we purchase and consume fish needs a massive overhaul!
- Check the packaging. Many brands are swapping out their plastic packaging for biodegradable, recycled, or reusable alternatives. While many aren’t, we can make a change by supporting those that support the environment!
- Grow your own. Growing your own food is not only greener, it’s an amazing hobby that every eco-conscious person can enjoy with their entire family. Going plant-based is awesome, but growing your own, well, nothing compares to that!
- Prepare your on-the-go meals. Eating healthy/ sustainably can be hard when you live a fast-paced life. That’s why you should have a bunch of sustainably sourced, healthy snacks on hand so that you can skip the store-bought crisps on your busy days. Nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and raw fruit and veg make awesome snack alternatives for when you’re on the go and can be kept in the car, in your laptop bag or handbag, or even in your pocket.
Trade the Volksvagen for a Foots-wagen
Puns aside, one of the best ways to merge an eco-friendly lifestyle with a fitness lifestyle is to swap the car out for a pair of trainers or a bicycle as a means of commute.
I have a map of all the areas within a 3.5-mile radius of my home.
Incorporate it into your routine
Any time I am going for a coffee with a friend, heading to the shops, or going to the gym, I check to see if it falls within the area I’m comfortable riding my bike or walking to.
I highly recommend doing this - it’s an immediate way to cut down on fuel consumption, lower emissions, and get healthy while being the greenest version of yourself!
Become a proponent of change
Change doesn’t have to come in the form of better eating or sustainable apparel alone. If you are looking to make a significant difference, consider organizing fundraisers that form part of your fitness goals.
From hosting a sponsored strongman event to having friends donate money for every mile you run in a marathon, there are a ton of ways to become a proponent of change through your fitness regimen.
One great way of raising money for environmental causes is through the marathon, there are many amazing charities to sign up with and fundraise for.
Although running the marathon might seem a distant dream at first, there is plenty of support online for beginner runners.
Running the marathon can be a great opportunity to push yourself mentally and physically whilst making a positive impact.
Choose an eco-friendly gym
This is another one that can be easily introduced, thanks to the growing number of business owners that are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibility to produce sustainable goods and services.
Many of the gyms in your area should, to some degree, be able to provide you information on how they are making their gym eco-friendlier.
It’s always good to give them a call or stop by to ask about their sustainability efforts.
In summary, sustainable fitness reaches further than just your daily workouts.
It’s about the tools we use in our fitness program, the things we eat, the way we live life, and the kindness we show ourselves.