Many believe the only day worth going green is on March 17th (Saint Patrick’s Day) but that’s not the case. Back in December or January, many people make resolutions to workout more, exercise more often, drop the weight. Well, here we are, 4 months into the new year and most have already given that up and surrendered to the temptations of a tub of Ben & Jerry’s while watching others workout in the gym or in passing on the way to get fast food. Tsk tsk tsk. It’s okay, there’s hope. This month, you need to make a new resolution. Sure, most of your friends and family already did so and gave up probably during the first week of January or during February and the dozen snow events, but you’re going to impress them all by making this resolution to go green. What will you get out of it? A much leaner physique and a plan that’ll keep you active and busy all year round, regardless of the season or your busy schedule.
Too often, ‘going green’ seems to be associated just with being environmentally conscious. You think it means driving a hybrid car, spending loads of money to install solar panels on your rooftop, not flushing the toilet … those are all good starts but going green can be so much more. Go green in all areas of your life, not just in terms of how you can help the environment.
Go green by moving your workout outside. It’s going to (eventually) start to get warmer. That means you can workout outdoors and you should! Gyms are all right for the colder months when you really can’t make it outdoors without freezing your behind off, but as spring comes and warmer weather arrives, it’s time for you to transport your workout from inside to outside. Just 10-20 minutes of sunlight on your arms and legs will give you enough vitamin D to fend off colds and sicknesses (anything beyond 20 minutes and you need to apply SPF).
This is the season to revive your routine and make your workout truly green. Instead of using gas to get around, try walking or running. Any errands that are less than a mile away are easy times to literally RUN to get them done. Challenge yourself – or walk farther out or take the weekend to explore a new trail or path. Do you like lifting weights? Think about taking your tax refund to start buying your own free weights and barbells to use in your home or go so far as to invest in a workout program like P90x. Get yourself a good exercise mat and on the warm days, take everything outside, pump some music and bang out your workout. Sure, your neighbors may peek out their windows and stare incredulously at you but so what, who cares? A little bit of staring never hurt anyone and especially if it’s done by attractive neighbors you’ve been meaning to get out and meet, it can be rather motivating.
Go green by eating green. How come ‘going green’ usually circumvents the whole eating green movement? I’m a big advocate of green eating – not even organic, just eating green vegetables. The problem with many’s diets is that it’s very red, white or brown – as in heavy on meats and starches but light on the stuff that can actually help you lose weight – green vegetables. We’re about to enter a new season, which means new crops and vegetables will be showing up in your grocery stores. Try asparagus, leafy green vegetables, green peppers, green beans. A lot of these vegetables contain much needed vitamins and minerals, those which the typical diet are lacking. Plus, you’re going to get calcium in some (without having to consume fatty dairy products) and fiber to help your digestive track. If you want to drop the weight, increase your green vegetables and decrease the fatty meats.
Go green by challenging yourself to be more aware of the environment. I run on a college campus and on the trail I run across a lot of trash that’s been tossed anywhere but the trash can. Even when I’m out (literally) running an errand or walking, I find lots of trash that’s lining the street. So here’s an idea – you’re already out running, so make a game of cleaning things up as you go! I’m not saying you need to clean an entire trail or highway by yourself but if you spot a newspaper, large cup, a piece of litter that’s floating along and is reachable, swoop by and get it and toss it in the next trash can you encounter. Think of it as an environmental relay race: you’re in your track, you’re the runner, the trash is the baton and you snatch it and pass it off to your awaiting partner (that is the trash can). The object can be to see how quickly you can get the trash to the same trash can if you’re running on a track or path. See, being environmentally conscious could be good to your health.
Another way to go green is of course using reusable bags. Plastic bags are so 20th century. A lot of stores are actually encouraging the use of plastic bags by knocking off a few cents from your total bill if you use them. Depending on how much you shop, you could end up saving a great deal by bringing your own bags. If you don’t use reusable bags, then request paper bags when they’re an option. You have to be quick; many stores won’t even ask you if you want to switch to paper and will chug your things into a million plastic bags. IF you get plastic bags then find ways to use them wisely. Use them to help sort your recycling, or as trash bags (so you can save on the green by not having to buy them).
Don’t use plastic cups and plates! Sure, the Styrofoam is very attractive and saves you from using water, but those don’t breakdown and you can get a workout by actually using regular plates. Plate sets, decent ones, can be purchased anywhere these days for an affordable price. By using real plates, you’ll avoid BPA, you’ll avoid your food or drinks absorbing harmful chemicals that seep out of Styrofoam and you cut down on your grocery bill by not having to continually purchase the ‘cheap’ plates and cups.
Go green by keeping your mind on the money and money on the mind. Before you do anything, ask yourself “Can I afford this?” If you drive everywhere and are dropping tons of money on gas, then ask yourself how you can cut down on that bill. Again, literally running your errands could be an awesome alternative to driving everywhere. Moving to an apartment or house that’s a mile or two away from your bank, grocery store, shopping center, job or gym/running trail is another worthwhile option to think about. Think about how much money you could save if you could walk, run or bike to these places rather than having to crank up the gas guzzler and drive there? Not only would you be saving on money but you’d easily be able to workout each day if you combined necessary travel or tasks with your exercise routine.
In all, going green is much more than being aware of the environment. Going green can easily be applied to all areas of your life and can be linked to eating better and working out more, both which will lead to a fitter and healthier you. Sure, Earth Day isn’t until April 22 but go green now and track your progress up to Earth Day. How’d it go? How much money did you save? How much more working out did you do by going green? Did you lose any weight? I bet if you really go green in March, you’ll be able to note a lot of progress and great changes in your life come Earth Day. You’ll also be inspired to go green all year round.