Seven easy eco friendly ways to stay fit and healthy
For our Health and Beauty month we delve into the eco ways of fitness gurus and health in an increasingly unhealthy world. With the warmer months slowly drawing closer we look at how we can get off the couch from under that blanket and increase our fitness. Below are a few ways we enjoy staying fit and healthy and some we have heard about which we would like to add to our exercise repertoire.
The National Health Service (NHS) have said the following. It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:
- up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
- up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
- a 30% lower risk of early death
- up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
- up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
- a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
- up to a 30% lower risk of depression
- up to a 30% lower risk of dementia
So have a scan and see if you could reduce your environmental impact while you keep those nasty risks and diseases at bay.
Plogging is a new one for us, but we love the sound of it. Plogging is where you jog around your local area and pick up any rubbish you see on your way. It doesn’t require too much equipment if you have bins along your jogging path, but could get cumbersome if you’re taking a bin bag with you through a forest for instance. Then I guess you could try pl-ower walking?!?.
Either way, we love this idea. We regularly litter pick in our local area and whenever we have a chance to volunteer, so combining this with healthy exercise sounds like a great idea. This hobby is completely free too!
Running and power walking
Following nicely on from the previous suggestion, if picking up trash while you exercise is not your bag (excuse the pun). An eco friendly way to exercise is to simply use just your body – no electricity, no emissions, just you and the open road.
Take a look at some of the benefits from being outdoors and ask yourself why you’re not strapping your trainers on as you read this article!
Youtube home workouts
This is a firm favourite of mine, especially for yoga. Sometimes you really cant be bothered to leave the house, but know you should do something to get that blood pumping. The advantages of a home work out is you can do it in your pjs, at your own pace, pause it to eat some chocolate and then sit back and watch TV as soon as you finish. You can opt for Zumba, HIIT, weight training (using body weight or hand held weights), yoga/pilates, boxercise and more.
You may need a few accessories; yoga mat, hand weights, resistance bands and there are lots of environmentally friendly fitness products. Gyms use a lot of energy and usually do not turn off all of the equipment over night, this work out option is cheaper than a monthly gym membership and can use less energy.
If you need a bit more action or want a bit more pace think about buying or renting a bicycle. They are great for low impact exercise if you have had an injury or are worried about affects of running on knees or ankles. Electric bikes can be a great option for those who are not as fit or live in hillier areas. Lots of areas are increasingly providing bikes for rent around cities which are a great way to travel and get fit at the same time.
Be mindful of where you are cycling, we suggest you will at least need helmets, lights and high visibility clothing. If you’re cycling in cities it might be worth looking to pollution masks if you will spent a lot of time in areas with traffic.
Local watering holes
Most areas will have access to water, whether it be a swimming pool, lido or beach. Swimming is a cheap way to exercise and a very peaceful way to maintain fitness. Like cycling it has very low impact so is great for those with sore backs, necks and shoulders. It’s really good for mobility and you can always go at your own pace.
Although there are chemicals and energy costs to swimming pools, especially private ones, we are supportive of the public use concept. Think along the same lines as public transport! Of course if you are by the sea or a public lido these would be a lot more energy efficient and considerably cheaper again than a swimming pool.
Dotted around parks and public places there are a number of outside gyms. These vary in quality and sometimes have a younger crowd, or a drunken man sleeping, but they can be really good, free ways to exercise. Have a search online to find out whether there are any near you, early in the morning or late at night would be our advice as the best time to go and check them out.
If none of the above is really your bag, and you’re still in dying need of a rowing machine or static bike at home, why not think about sharing it with someone? Rather than having a private gym at your home with only you using it (sometimes rarely) consider asking a friend or family member to join you in exercising.
Sharing resources is a greatly important action in the current climate, we don’t all need to own the same things. If you have a friend who loves weight training, think about investing in some weights and become gym buddies. Exercise is always more fun with friends.
So give one or all of these a go! You can reduce your environmental impact while making a positive action for your health. Look for activities which use a low amount of energy or are communal to reduce personal energy use. If you have any more suggestions, please comment and tell us!
Grace has quit the 9-5 lifestyle in London to study marine conservation in Thailand. She will subsequently work as a scuba diving instructor with emphasis on teaching students about marine conservation and anthropogenic impacts to our oceans. Her favourite eco product is Oliva Olive Oil Soap.