The number one resolution on people’s list this year is “improve fitness.” If you’re passionate about caring for creation and improving fitness is one of your goals for 2024, you can infuse meaning into that goal by pairing sustainability with your fitness plan.
Creation care is a call that all Christians are given throughout Scripture. It’s a faithful way to care for your neighbor and the planet at the same time. When you add the intentionality of sustainability to your fitness regimen, you’ve found a way to love God, yourself, and others simultaneously. Why not multiply your efforts and adopt some of these tactics?
Take Your Workout Outdoors
There are so many mental health benefits to being in nature that we wrote a whole article about it, but taking your fitness routine outside is also one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and benefit your whole health—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Jesus himself walked into solitary places to be with the Lord and renew his strength. That’s a whole-health regimen if I’ve ever seen one.
Walking, cycling, running, and swimming are all excellent exercises that require no fitness equipment, and they’re all powered strictly by an alternative energy source—you.
Prioritize Eco-Friendly Fitness Brands
The fitness industry is a huge (and growing), global market, with hundreds of brands vying for consumer attention. All of that workout gear comes at an environmental cost. According to Earth911, most of the fitness clothing we wear are made from synthetic fabrics that contain plastic. It’s what gives the material its stretchiness.
While I love a good pair of leggings and a sturdy sports bra, the health implications and environmental impact just isn’t something that has been on my radar. Thankfully, there are lots of brands that have made the environment and our personal health a higher priority. Brands like Pact and Patagonia prioritize both people and the planet, and Definite Articles and MATE have completely removed BPAs from the fitness apparel equation.
Buy Used or Use DIY Equipment
If you are in the market for home fitness equipment, hunt for used stuff first. Extend the life of fitness equipment by visiting your local thrift shop, second-hand fitness equipment store, or shop online through Facebook Marketplace or CFF Fit, a Christian-owned fitness business that sells pre-owned commercial fitness equipment.
You can also come up with do-it-yourself fitness equipment ideas, including using water bottles as weights or other objects in your home as resistance equipment. I vividly remember my mom working out to Bodies by Gilad using canned soups as weights when she started working out. I love that ingenuity and sustainability!
Green Up Your Daily Commute
You can save carbon emissions and up your fitness game by incorporating walking or cycling into your work commute.
Plug into Community Eco-Activities
Sometimes the hardest part about improving your fitness regimen comes down to motivation. At the end of the day, this is my greatest barrier to exercising regularly—I just don’t feel like it.
That’s why group fitness and community eco-activities can be a major game changer.
Joining a community exercise class, like yoga, pilates, or community club sports, it packs a one-two punch of community building (which improves our social wellness) and reduces reliance on bulky exercise equipment and other individualized resources.
If you join an environmental clean-up project, such as beach and waterway clean-ups or a roadside trash pick-up, you’ll be improving the well-being of your local community, exercising without even thinking about it.
Both of these add a level of accountability that lazy bones like me need to stay motivated and hit our fitness goals.
Make Your Indoor Workouts More Energy-Efficient
I’d love to live in an area where I could walk outdoors every day, but alas, I live near Cleveland, Ohio, which ranks as one of the top ten cloudiest cities in America. And, bonus points! We’re also one of the top ten rainiest regions in the country.
If I’m going to keep my fitness goals for the year, I am going to have to rely on indoor workouts here and there (or be okay with getting drenched on my walks).
To reduce your carbon footprint with your indoor workouts, opt for online workouts instead of buying DVDs or subscribing to physical media. Rather than buying a treadmill, choose workouts that only require you to operate, like jump ropes or resistance bands.
You can also find energy-efficient equipment like manual treadmills or home fitness equipment that actually generates energy, like ECO-POWR products from SportsArt, whose mission is “focused on bringing to market beautiful, smart, innovative products and technologies that play a role in sustaining the health of the planet and the people.”
What other ways are you pairing your fitness goals with caring for creation? Tell us about it in the comments, and join our community on Instagram!