Five Simple Steps to Make Your Fitness Regime More Sustainable
Here at My Fitness Advisor, we want to help everyone stay as fit and healthy as possible, but we’re also concerned with ensuring the planet stays healthy too! It’s important we all take the necessary steps towards a sustainable future. Here’s a look at how you can make your fitness regime more sustainable.
Buy a reusable water bottle
Anyone who’s been to a gym knows just how many plastic water bottles are bought at the start of a workout and thrown at the end of it. If you’re guilty of this, it’s not just your wallet you’re hurting! Plastic bottles and other single-use plastics are a disaster for the environment and especially for our oceans. The United Nations estimate that eight million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the oceans every year having a devastating impact on marine life. Sir David Attenborough recently called the pandemic of plastic pollution an “unfolding catastrophe”.
Despite saying so on the label, plastic bottles are rarely recycled. Professor Doug James found that just 12 percent of the total plastic bottles sold in the USA in 2005 were recycled, leaving a staggering 25 BILLION plastic bottles to either sit or landfill or be incinerated (plastic incineration is a primary driver of climate change) in America alone.
The production of bottled water also creates a serious problem for the environment. The energy used to manufacture bottled water globally each year is equivalent to 450 million barrels of oil – the same amount of oil could run 25.3 million cars for an entire year!
Reusable water bottles are cheap and easy to get your hands on, it’s a simple step to making your fitness regime more sustainable. You’ll save yourself a fortune in the long run and help to save the planet. Let’s make David Attenborough happy and ditch the single-use plastics altogether.
Do you need to drive?
Car pollution is a driving force of climate change. In the UK, road pollution makes up a staggering 22 percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions, in the USA, the figure is even higher.
It might be easiest to hop in the car to get to the gym but it’s by far the worst mode of transport for the planet. It’s not possible for everyone but taking an alternative form of transport is a brilliant way to lower your carbon footprint. Could you take the bus or train instead? Or, if you’re lucky enough to live close enough, could you get there on foot or by bike? You could even save time by doing your cardio getting to and from the gym! Don’t forget that every small journey by car costs money too, getting to the gym by an alternative way can help you save some pennies and save the planet!
Making just small changes to your diet can massively reduce your carbon footprint and make your fitness regime more sustainable. Food production accounts for approximately 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and beef is by far the worst culprit.
Ditching the steaks for an alternative source of protein is a simple and easy way of hugely reducing carbon emissions. You don’t have to go vegan either, switching to chicken and pork sees an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to beef.
Trading out beef for a plant-based alternative has a dramatic effect on emissions, it’s estimated swapping steak for beans just once a week for a year keeps the equivalent of 331 kilograms of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere!
When the rains pouring hopping on the running machine is a great way to stay fit and keep dry but, when the weather’s nice, why not do your cardio outside instead? Not only does working out outside reduce our energy consumption, but it’s also better for us!
Recent research highlights the benefits that working out in a natural environment has for our mental wellbeing. Compared to indoor exercises the study found that exercising outside provided, “greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement, decreased tension, confusion, anger and depression”.
There’re physical benefits too, people who exercise outdoors generally have longer, more strenuous workouts. According to Michael Silverman, director of rehabilitation and wellness at Northern Westchester Hospital, we burn more calories running outside than on the treadmill: “Outdoors, you are changing surfaces constantly, fighting the wind, and making quick and sudden starts and stops, which all lead to increased caloric burn”.
Doing some cardio outside has some fantastic benefits and is a great way to make your fitness regime more sustainable!
Get a biodegradable Yoga mat
Yoga and love for the planet go hand in hand but, it turns out that your yoga mat might not be loving Mother Nature at all. This is due to the majority contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is a highly toxic plastic that harms the environment. Don’t worry, eco-friendly yoga mats are readily available, they might cost slightly more but, you’ll be able to downward dog conscious-free!
Check out our other sustainable fitness blog on what sustainability looks like in the fitness industry here