Eco-Friendly Exercise: 4 Steps You Can Take
When we think of sustainability, chances are exercise is not the first area that comes to mind! However, adjusting your workout can be a great way to reduce your impact on the environment. Consider the following changes to your fitness routine to make your exercise habits both healthy and eco-friendly.
Car trips of one mile or less add up to ten billion miles per year in the U.S. Get your next workout in by making your next short commute on foot, bike, rollerblades, or any other creative non-motorized means. You can save on gas, get some extra movement in, and enjoy the environment.
2. Workout Clothes
It can be hard to choose sustainable clothing. There can be a lack of transparency about how our clothes are made, including how the people making them are affected, what resources are used to make them, and how they are distributed and discarded. If you’re interested in “going green” with your apparel:
- Do some research to find a favorite sustainable clothing store, manufacturer, or brand.
- Look for options that offer insight into how they reduce their environmental impact. For example, select brands that guarantee durable clothes – which means less fabric in landfills – or brands that source their materials, such as cotton, from vetted producers or recycled materials.
- Donate your gently-used athletic apparel to a secondhand shop. Or, if you’re searching for some gear, check your local thrift store first and give some garments a second life!
Ditch the single-use containers for good! Hydrate before, during, and after your workout with a reusable water bottle. There are many options as far as materials (BPA-free plastic, aluminum, stainless steel), size, construction, and designs.
Fuel your workout in an environmentally-friendly way by incorporating sustainable sources of protein, such as plant-based proteins, into your eating routine. Plant proteins require fewer resources than (animal-based) meat to produce. Plus, they can be a source of “complete protein” just like animal-based products, meaning they have all the essential amino acids humans need! You don’t have to become vegetarian to make a difference—going plant-based for even a few days or meals per week can help.
If you’re looking for a pre- or post-workout snack full of essential amino acids, try a handful of edamame, a serving of quinoa, or chia seeds mixed into a smoothie or in plant-based milk for a pudding. Nuts (such as peanuts and almonds) or legumes (like chickpeas or lentils) can also be great choices for plant-based protein.