Fitness shouldn't just improve your health, it should help the environment too. Luckily there are a number of ways you can make your workout more sustainable:
1. The products you buy
The products we use everyday can have a huge impact on our environment. We know it can be overwhelming trying to work out what the environmental impact of a product is so, here are a couple of things you should look out for:
Carbon footprint: look for products where the manufacturer minimises the carbon released by production / transportation as much as possible. Companies who intrinsically have a low carbon footprint or offset their carbon and will likely mention this on their website or packaging; if they don't the complexity of the product and distance from where it is produced can be a good indicator.
Start of life: choose products which are made from materials which are sustainably and responsibly sourced;
End of life: choose products which will last a long time and are biodegradable or recyclable at the end of life - no more landfill!
Packaging: avoid products with complex packaging made from multiple materials and packaging made of non-recyclable plastic.
We've compiled a few of our favourite sustainable products to use or wear while working out:
Form yoga mat (of course, we never workout without our mat!) - carbon negative, made from recycled rubber and recyclable at the end of life;
Reusable water bottles: we all know plastic disposable bottles are not good for the environment; luckily there are a number of great, durable alternatives including our favourite Refill or colourful alternatives Chilly's or Swell.
Eco-friendly clothing: as a general rule natural materials like cotton, bamboo, linen, hemp or silk are much better than non-biodegradable options however brands which use synthetic materials from recycled sources are also an option. Brands to check out include Vyayama, Groceries Apparel, Asquith.
2. Sustainable food choices
To achieve our health and fitness goals, food eaten outside of the gym and studio is just as important as the work we do inside. There are a number of changes you can make to your diet to reduce your environmental impact which are also better for health too:
Cut down your meat and dairy consumption or go vegan - agriculture is responsible for 15% of all greenhouse emissions, so reducing the amount of meat and dairy you eat is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint;
This extends to supplements too - switching to plant based supplements reduces your environmental impact due to the lower energy and water required during production.
Buy local - transportation is another huge contributor to global emissions so try to buy more food produced from near where you live, it'll likely be fresher too. And no, you don't need bottled water flown over from Fiji...
Avoid processed foods - processed foods are proven to not only be bad for your health but it often requires large amounts of energy to do the...processing. Eating unprocessed, whole foods are an easy (tasty) way to reduce your environmental impact.
3. Find a sustainable gym
A number of eco-friendly gyms such as Eco Gym and Terra Hale are opening around the world: these aim to reduce their environmental impact in multiple ways including feeding the energy exerted on their machines back into the grid. While these gyms are by far the minority, supporting them as they lead the way will encourage other gyms to follow suit making sustainability the standard rather than the exception.
If there are no sustainable gyms within distance of your home or work, try to workout outdoors more particularly if you often use energy intensive machines such as treadmills.