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Eco Fit-ly

Have you ever thought about how your fitness routine affects the environment?

Getting fit is already something that requires a lot of effort but having a fitness routine that’s also good for the environment sounds a little too much. However, having a ‘green’ fitness routine isn’t that difficult.

Did you know that a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute? In 2016, only seven percent of bottles collected were recycled! This means that most plastic bottles end up in landfills or in the ocean. This creates five to 13 million tonnes of plastic waste in the world’s oceans which are ingested by sea birds, fish and other sea creatures. According to research, by 2050, the ocean will have more plastic by weight than fish!

Going green with your fitness routine doesn’t mean overhauling how you exercise. Try these tips on for size to help you and the environment get stronger and healthier.

Stop using single use plastics

Bottled water requires a lot of energy and creates plastic waste that gets washed out to sea. Ghent University in Belgium has recently calculated that for people who eat seafood, they ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic per year.

Stop and have a think about the single use plastics that you use. The sandwich you buy before or after gym? The bottle of water or juice you buy before or after a workout? The cup of coffee you take away to give yourself that pre-workout caffeine boost?

To lower or cut out your use of single use plastics, stop using things like cling film or sandwich bags to package your food. Reusable containers are the best way to combat single use plastics and they’re also a great way to save money. Making your pre and post workout meals, packing and bringing them around with you is a great way to stay on budget and allows you to really monitor what goes into your meals.

Shop for groceries from farmer’s markets or wet markets to cut down on plastic packaging and bring reusable plastic or cloth bags to put your shopping in. For those who just can’t say no to coffee, there are plenty of cute reusable coffee cups that keep your beverage warm and cut down on waste created by takeaway cups.

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Go green on your commute

If going outdoors isn’t something feasible due to the weather or allergies, there are also ways to go green with the gym. Do you usually drive and then spend more time looking for parking? Take public transport to your gym to lower your carbon footprint. Public transport vehicles carry more people in a single vehicle compared to single-occupancy vehicles and thus reduce harmful emissions, level of traffic noise and overall number of vehicles on the road.

If you’d like to go further and go fuel-free, perhaps sign up for a gym membership to a gym that’s within running distance and jog to your gym for extra cardio time! Additionally, biking to the gym is also an option if it is a little further.

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Go green, go outside

Save money and also cut down on energy consumption by going outdoors to exercise. A lot of electricity is needed to power the air conditioning, exercise machines, showers and more in a gym! Whether you’re hiking or running, exercising outdoors means that you’ll encounter hills, turns and terrain that a treadmill can’t provide. Unstable surfaces allow you to work more muscle groups that you probably wouldn’t in the gym.

Additionally, being outdoors boosts your levels of vitamin D, as long as you’re out in the sunshine before 10 am, which helps you absorb calcium better to build strong bones.

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Go green on your period

A facet of fitness and the environment that we usually don’t think about is a woman’s menses. Menstruation affects a fitness routine especially when you’re worried your sanitary products might leak!

Did you know that 12 billion pads and tampons are used and thrown away annually? This means that the plastics contained in the pads and tampon applicators will stay in our environment for hundreds of years.

Compare using a reusable menstruation cup made of medical grade silicone per year with approximately 240 disposable pads, tampons and panty liners. That is a lot less waste created and less money spent in the long run! If you’re still attached to using pads, cloth pads made of cotton or bamboo are a great earth friendly option and work just as well, if not better than disposable pads.

As you can see, it isn’t that difficult to have a green fitness routine. All it takes is extra thought and just a little bit of effort to help the environment. Together, we can all make a difference!

References: The Guardian; Women’s Health.

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