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An Ethical Approach to Health and Fitness

An Ethical Approach to Health and Fitness

With our current lockdown under full swing, lots of people have started to exercise at home now that they have been forced to stop using gyms and leisure centres. Thinking about health and fitness and where it fits in terms of the environment – is it possible to live a healthy lifestyle without having a detrimental impact on the environment?

WORK OUT GEAR:

You could certainly green up your kit. Pick sportswear that uses sustainable fabrics like bamboo fibre which is biodegradable. Asquith is a great brand and has an eco-performance fabric based on bamboo, called Bambor, their sportswear is super nice. When looking into the activewear market is growing no end, according to Allied Market Research, the global activewear industry is expected to reach nearly $547 billion by 2024 as fast fashion brands continue to face off against traditional sportswear retailers for a slice of the market. The healthy lifestyle trend has evolved beyond simply a diet culture, now it’s about self-care and self-care is a luxury we should all be able to afford, in fact it’s not longer a luxury, it is a necessity. We are encouraged to take better care of ourselves; eat the right food, exercise and focus on our mental health. In 2019, The Global Wellness Institute highlighted that the global wellness industry was worth $4.5 trillion and since this lifestyle shift is no passing trend, I imagine it is only going to increase. Think about it, Yoga apparel is now a staple for most traditional sports brands like Nike and adidas.

Yoga at home active lifestyle woman rolling exercise mat in living room for morning meditation yoga banner background.

Think about the equipment you use as well – if you use mats then find an all-rubber or jute yoga mat (this one is a good option from YogaMatters) and go for sustainable drink bottles as well, moving away from plastic and to the reusable.

BE A HERO WHEN YOU RUN: https://plogolution.com/

This one is quite fun actually, go for a run and pick up rubbish while you do it. It’s simple, uses nothing but your own body and you’re doing something good for the environment.

DIET:

This one is pretty obvious but as outlined in our post Buying Local, by buying local you are reducing your food miles and eating better quality, nutritious food.

EXERCISE:

Exercise is good for our overall health and well-being but it seems counter intuitive that you would choose to live an ethical and sustainable lifestyle yet then go to a gym – a gym that you have driven to, that is air-conditioned and has massive bright screened TVs dotted all over the place. You’ve got a few options therefore – if you do prefer to work out in a gym then look for a gym that’s focused on its environmental impact. Terra Hale in London is a great example of this. They use pedal power to help to power their lights and speakers. Brighton has an Eco-Gym where the cardio equipment when used put it’s energy back into the grid. Lots of gyms have removed plastic cups for drinking water, replacing them with reusable ‘gym’ branded bottles while others use energy saving lights.

You could always workout at home, buying your own personal equipment for you to use in your home, however, let’s be honest – how many of us do actually work out at home? If you do choose to buy your equipment to use at home, make sure you go for second-hand weights, going to thrift/charity shops or eBay to see what’s available. There are also apps available such as Sweat by Kayla Itines and Centr by Chris Hemsworth that are downloadable and will allow you to workout by simply using our smartphones and some basic equipment. It’s up to you if you choose this route – it’s a great way to have a programme to follow without needing to go to the gym.

However, you then have the option of exercising outdoors – going for a run, cycling or walking outdoors all have positive impacts not only on physical health but also on mental health too. Reading this article from Healthy Food Guide, they suggest that working out in a natural environment can help you be consistent with regular physical activity. It also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors all year round and challenge yourself in a different way as you are much more reliant on your body – try an outdoor bootcamp or a Saturday morning park run and see what you think.

FITNESS DOESN’T JUST MEAN GOING TO THE GYM:

Here are a few ideas that allow you to be active without having an impact on the environment:

  • Start gardening – create that garden you’ve been dreaming of. Get digging, wedding and pruning.
  • See housework as exercise – not only will you have a beautifully clean home, you’ll be constantly moving around. Put in a bit of elbow grease and you’ll be sweating in no time.
  • Leave the car at home and walk to work, to the shops or to see friends and family. It may mean you need to leave a lot earlier to get to work and it might seem like a hassle but you’ll be thankful as you will feel better for it.
  • If you’ve got kids – then play with them as much as you can. Run around in the garden, play football, put up a basketball hoop in your driveway if you can and make that your time with the kids.

Whatever your personal preference – being active is important, it is an opportunity to challenge yourself, clear your mind and strengthen your body.

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