5 Eco-Friendly Exercises You Can Do Right Now
Reducing your impact on the environment can have a lasting effect on future generations, and you can start your workouts simply by creating your own eco-friendly exercise regimen.
From breathing fresh air to taking a mountain bike to using the dining room chair to strengthen your triceps, you can benefit your health and the Earth at the same time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone is at risk of environmental changes threatening human health and well-being, especially those with few economic resources and who live in specific places around the world. But you can do your part to help solve this global crisis.
The following 5 green exercises consume less electricity, reduce your carbon footprint, and at the same time provide valuable health benefits for your body and mind.
Exploring Mother Nature by hiking allows you to take in panoramic views of the landscape and train your quads and hamstrings, as the trails offer ever-changing terrain.
According to the National Park Service (NPS), walking creates a full-body workout that builds strong muscles and bones, improves your cardiovascular health, reduces the risk of respiratory problems, and improves your sense of balance because trails often include slopes and inclines pending.
You also have options, depending on your hiking preference - NPS says you'll find more than 400 national parks across the country. You may even have trails close to where you live.
As an added bonus, hiking can help you feel good mentally. A 2015 study from Stanford University and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, found that people who walked in nature, unlike a high-traffic urban environment, showed less activity in an area of the brain associated with the Depression .
In the study, one group of participants walked for 90 minutes on a grassy area with trees and bushes, and another group walked on a busy four-lane highway.
The researchers measured heart and breathing rates, performed brain scans before and after training, and participants completed questionnaires. They found significant and positive changes in neural activity in people who walked in nature compared to an urban environment.
Run or Walk
People walking the Camino de Santiago, Camino de Santiago, Spain Hikers walking along the Camino de Santiago, Spain
Dori Moreno / Getty Images
Running and walking are ecological exercises that do not require a car, since you can do them at the front door.
Also, spending time outdoors instead of on the treadmill can exercise different leg muscles, as the terrain and natural elements change frequently.
Running outdoors also leads to better running savings (that is, how much energy you use at an aerobic intensity), according to a 2015 study published in Biology of Sport.
The researchers had the runners perform an exercise test on a running track in front of a 1% incline treadmill. They found that the runners had significantly better running economy on the track than on the treadmill.
Yoga classes are also becoming more popular than ever. According to the Physical Activity Council (PAC), a survey of more than 18,000 Americans showed that 67% of the US population participated in group exercise and other physical activities in 2019, and that nearly 18% of respondents they participated in moderate physical exercises. , like yoga.
As a green bonus, yoga does not require the use of machines and requires only minimal equipment (a mat, yoga blocks, and a strap), and can be done at home or at the gym.
For the uninitiated, they can watch yoga videos on YouTube for free or sign up for DoYogaWithMe.
Try an entry-level group class or consider online or face-to-face tutoring with a certified teacher. There are also a host of live streaming lessons available on Zoom or in apps like Insight Timer.
Join a Team Sport
You can make friends and help the environment by participating in team sports. For example, a neighborhood softball, volleyball, or kickball team often practices outdoors.
Also, many teams tend to play with used equipment, which saves on plastic and rubber manufacturing.
You can find cheap or even free teams to join through neighborhood associations, or your city may offer local recreational leagues that charge a nominal fee.
This type of activity is also becoming increasingly common. The 2019 Physical Activity Council survey found that just over half of the US population participates in outdoor sports, with Gen Y and Gen Z making up the majority of that demographic.
The name may not sound familiar, but plogging is an eco-friendly fitness activity that originated in Sweden. Instead of going for a run or a walk, he spends his time picking up trash along the way. Go for a walk? Bring a recyclable garbage bag and pick up the garbage along the trail.
Are you going to run in your neighborhood? Make your neighbors proud by picking up the trash you see near their homes.
Plogging gives you the double benefit of green training. Walking, jogging or walking is eco-friendly, leaving the area where you exercised cleaner than you found it.
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