five habits that are good for the earth and your body
Author: Lauren Jenkinson
We always hear about how beneficial lowering our consumption and minimizing our waste is for the environment, but have you ever thought about the ways that living a low-waste lifestyle can have a positive health impact for yourself? bare market blogger Lauren is here to break down how you can help yourself alongside the earth.
Hey you! Have you made some lifestyle changes in order to reduce your personal impact on the health of our planet? Maybe you’re just starting to think about how you can reduce your waste. Either way, that’s awesome! Did you realize that some of those changes may also benefit your physical health? Let’s talk about this win-win situation!
Here are some key health benefits that we can coincidentally enjoy when making more eco-friendly choices about how we live each day:
photo by Tiffany Nutt
1. Active commuting on bike or foot (or a combo of both)
Benefit for the environment: When you choose a human-powered mode of transportation for work, school, or errands, you’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions that would result from burning fossil fuels to run a car.
Benefit for you: Increased time spent physical activity reduces many risk factors for chronic diseases, including high blood pressure.
2. Shifting to more sustainable food choices by decreasing meat consumption
Benefit for the environment: More natural resources (including land and water) are required to raise cattle & other livestock compared to plant agriculture. By reducing meat consumption you can reduce carbon emissions as well.
Benefit for you: This style of eating lines up very nicely with the new Canada’s Food Guide, which encourages choosing more plant proteins for good health.
photo by Brian Yurasits
3. Getting involved in your community with park or beach clean-ups
Benefit for the environment: Helping redirect litter from the ground to a recycling or garbage bin (depending on what the material is) increases the chance it will be disposed of properly, minimizing the impact on animals and waterways.
Benefit for you: Aside from the benefits of social interaction, feeling a sense of purpose connected to doing good also reduces stress and can promote the adoption of other healthy behaviours. Not to mention you’re being active here too (see the benefits of habit 1)
4. Carrying a reusable water bottle
Benefit for the environment: You’re creating less demand for single-use plastics when you don’t purchase them. Yay!
Benefit for you: Being prepared to fill up at any available water fountain makes it more likely that you’ll choose water over sugar sweetened beverages such as bottled juices or pop to quench your thirst. These drinks are associated with a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease, so embrace clean tap water when it’s available!
5. Growing your own herbs and veggies in a home garden
Benefit for the environment: This is about as local as you can get! Your produce won’t be growing pre-packaged in foam or plastic, so you’re avoiding that waste, as well as the transportation of the food to the store.
Benefit for you: Having an active hobby such as gardening, can reduce the time you would spend sitting if you were engaged in more sedentary habits like watching TV. Sitting for long periods of time is also associated with a higher incidence (chance of developing) cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Getting your hands dirty may have further health benefits, such as boosting your immune system as well.
*BONUS* Spending time outdoors
Officially I can’t find a direct link to this activity helping the environment, though I think it’s safe to say that cultivating a love for our natural environment will keep us more passionate about doing what we can to protect it.
Benefit for you: Going for a walk in nature can reduce stress & anxiety, as well as help you to sleep better.
In case you needed some extra motivation to stick with your low-impact habits, I hope this summary was helpful! An active earth warrior is also a healthy earth warrior!