“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
~ Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian
You already know that the first step towards a healthy planet is a healthy mind and body. You learned about the importance of taking care of your mind in the Wellness challenge, but what about your body? And no, we’re not talking body shape here! Everyone is unique and beautiful in their own ways, and you definitely can’t tie fitness back to one body type or another, but it’s important to recognize the benefits of getting out and active every day!
Let’s face it: working out is hard. When you have the option between comfort or sweat, it can seem almost impossible to choose the latter. But did you know that studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are happier and more at peace? Why? Because exercise releases endorphins in your brain; chemicals that reduce stress and elevate happiness. The physical activity doesn’t need to be vigorous. Just getting your heart pumping, muscles flexing, and blood moving is enough!
Bike. Rock climb. Hike. Dance. Kayak. Walk. Swim. Listen to your body and figure out activities that work best for you. Being active is a time when you can connect with yourself, build strength, and improve health. Not to mention it gets you outside, which allows you to step back from your busy life and connects you with your surroundings. Need some inspiration to get started? Check out the adventures of CLIF Bar, a community of passionate athletes, or the global adventures that Ecophiles reports on.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week to remain healthy. Physical activity is particularly important for preventing heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in the United States, with heart disease being number 1.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of physical exercise, it’s time to dive more deeply into the whole of fitness. The food you eat to fuel your body, the clothes you wear to work out, and the gear you use all impact you and the planet.
We’ve already talked about food and fashion in previous challenges, so let’s extend the conversation to fitness. Food is fuel, so it’s important to choose products that will give you energy without compromising your values, like CLIF Bar’s organic energy food. Conventional clothing or gear options can be made with harmful, synthetic materials that emit toxic gases when you sweat. For example, yoga and other mats may contain the chemical additive polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a known carcinogen that off-gas during your workout.
Luckily, a wide variety of eco-friendly products exist that allow you to feel good physically and consciously. So let’s get moving.
How much time do you spend sitting every day? Especially during school, it’s easy to let hours fly by without hardly even standing up. Too much sitting is linked to negative health impacts such as higher cholesterol, increased risk of diabetes, and more. At Turning Green, we use standing desks to stay on our feet throughout the day.
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From protein bars and shakes to energy drinks and supplements, there are hundreds of products on the market that claim to be nutritious, enhance performance, and increase energy. But once you look past the flashy packaging and take a hard look at the ingredients, you might realize that these products aren’t as great as they’re made out to be. The best way to fuel your body is with certified organic, whole foods!
Now that you’ve exercised, it’s time to refuel! Using your knowledge of real food and healthy decisions, make a post-workout meal.
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Many of the same harmful chemicals found in personal care products, cleaning supplies, and food lurk in our workout clothes and gear too. Now that you have thought about different aspects of your exercise routine, it’s time to gather everything you’ll need to make eco-fitness a part of your everyday, even if its just a walk around campus with a friend.
Think about an ideal exercise routine that works best for you. What kind of activities do you like to do? Are there any activities you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t gotten around to it?
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