Exercising outside and training in a sustainable way has amazing benefits for your physical and mental health as well as the environment. It can help you relax, improve your mood and cognitive function and all while being green.
Heading to the gym to go for a run on a treadmill is a waste of electricity, especially when you can take yourself round a local park. Green exercise also offers numerous location possibilities, making every workout an exciting and fresh experience.
Here are three green alternatives to the gym for getting out and exercising this summer:
Cycle the UK’s best mountain bike trails
While a weekend drive in the country is a lovely way to spend a summer day, you’ll need to burn fossil fuels to do it. The alternative is to take up your bike and make the journey part of your exercise and the fun.
On a sunny day you’ll be able to soak up vitamin D while enjoying the happiness-inducing endorphins that exercise releases. For a more intense workout, consider going mountain biking. Visit the UK’s most picturesque trails instead of getting the bus to the gym and cycling on the spot for an hour or so.
If you are worried that it might be a struggle to cycle so far, or that you might need some help because you are recovering from an injury, Eco Expedition Electric Bikes have created an electric bike for just this reason. Combining the parts of a traditional mountain bike with a slim look and strong suspension, this electric bike also includes a discreet pedal assist motor. For long distance rides or those harder hills, the rechargeable battery powered motor gives you that extra boost.
Learn how to plant a vegetable garden
Trainers and health enthusiasts always emphasize that working out is only part of the battle to get fit. If you’ve been snacking on sweets all winter and are looking for a change then you need to start eating right.
Eating more fruits, vegetables and unprocessed products is simple in theory but what do you really know about growing your own? If the answer is not much then now is the time. Whether you have a garden, windowsill or allotment nearby, learning how to plant a vegetable garden will make you aware of what a season vegetable is (supermarkets tend to import when they can’t get them locally if you didn’t know).
Turning over soil, working your hands into the earth and preparing to reap the rewards of natural, organic home grown foods is a great green workout.
Take up surfing on a sustainable board
As Kelly Slater famously said: “I think when a surfer becomes a surfer, it’s almost like an obligation to be an environmentalist at the same time.” Take inspiration from this pro-surfer and head to the beach this summer. If you love swimming and being in the water but tend to go for brief dip before reclining on the sand, why not instead learn a new skill this summer. Be inspired by pro-surfer Slater and take to the waves on a surfboard, or take it easy with body board. Whatever fun exercise you choose, do it in nature’s swimming pool!
In addition to improving your health condition, studies have shown that surfing for only half an hour can lead to an increase in happier thoughts and emotions and decrease in exhaustion and fatigue. Any pro or recreational surfer will most likely confirm the physical and psychological benefits of this type of sport.
If you’re wondering how you can make your new favorite sport even more green, companies like Sustainable Surf offer sustainable alternatives for surfboards and surfwear. Examples include: wooden or epoxy boards that last longer and are less wasteful, and wetsuits without PVC.
Forget the gym and avoid wasting energy by using what nature has given us. Get outdoors this summer and enjoy the fresh air, views and exercise that is great for both body and mental health. And all while being green.