Sustainable practices are not just good for the planet. Research suggests they may also be essential for you to lead a healthier life. With an ever-increasing global focus on climate change, you can do much to make responsible choices and save yourself and your natural surroundings. The potential health benefits alone of your action could provide the motivation to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.
Health Benefits of Sustainable Living
Here are some of the key benefits of a planet-friendly lifestyle for improved well-being.
A healthier mind
A cleaner and greener planet can positively affect your mental health. Take, for instance, the impact of increased exposure to greenery and the natural environment. According to studies, even 10 minutes in the presence of plants could lead to a noticeable improvement in happiness and positivity.
The healing power of plants is also well documented. In fact, many hospitals use indoor and outdoor greenery for its therapeutic benefits. It can also help sharpen cognitive abilities and reduce stress and anxiety.
The indirect mental health benefits of sustainable choices are worth noting, too. For example, consider the impact of carpooling with coworkers when you’re commuting to work. In addition to avoiding the daily stresses of rush-hour traffic, you can enjoy the company of your colleagues as you travel. The incremental effects of all these over time are undeniably significant.
A nutritionally rich diet
With sustainable food choices, you can gain proven health benefits. Locally sourced and home-grown food, for instance, assures fresh produce with zero or minimum chemicals. Organic produce has similar benefits, with the assurance of little to no harmful substances.
Besides, naturally ripened foods are higher in nutrients and flavor than those that go through a longer supply chain. They are also much healthier than processed alternatives packed with preservatives.
Eating less meat is another option that could be good for your health and the environment. Rearing animals for food production has a substantial negative impact on the planet, especially in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, red meat consumption is known to increase risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia. Clearly, switching to a more plant-based diet could be a win-win for everyone.
Reducing the use of your car and choosing to walk or cycle instead is an excellent choice for improved physical activity. It is particularly important if you are confined to a sedentary lifestyle with no time for workouts.
There are many other ways you can integrate sustainable choices to boost your physical fitness. For example, avoid the elevator and take the stairs to reduce energy usage and burn more calories. Spend time gardening to build strength and flexibility and minimize the use of store-bought produce with a substantial carbon footprint. Even taking a walk outdoors instead of watching TV could have plenty of health benefits, from improving digestion to reducing muscle tension.
More breathable air
“Clean air is essential for healthy lungs,” says the American Lung Association. But did you know your vehicle could emit around 4.6 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air each year? That is the average pollution level per person estimated by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Many other pollutants get added to the environment when fuel is burned. All these can contribute to poor air quality, resulting in bronchitis, skin irritation, asthma, and even more severe health issues, such as heart disease and cancer. But with sustainable practices, you could significantly minimize many of these adverse health effects.
Exposure to fewer toxins
You are constantly exposed to toxins, particularly through the products you choose for daily use. For instance, the hazardous chemical compounds in packaging materials of ready-to-eat meals can seep into your food. Household cleaning products, laundry detergents, shower gels, and air fresheners can all contain toxic chemicals, which could, over time, lead to many health issues. Even the plastic materials you dispose of could end up in the food you consume. By minimizing their usage, you can avoid their detrimental impact on health.
Making Conscious Choices: Simple Steps for a Healthier Life
Saving the planet and leading a healthier life does not require drastic changes. Even simple action could go a long way in making a notable improvement.
Here is how you can integrate sustainable living into your daily lifestyle:
- Minimize water and energy usage — turn off lights, shut down computers, install low-flow taps, and fix leaks.
- Choose energy-efficient appliances to reduce electricity usage and lower your energy bills.
- Switch to renewable energy sources.
- Use natural lighting as much as possible by opening blinds and windows.
- Dress well to keep yourself warm during colder months and reduce heating needs.
- Make responsible food choices — grow your produce, purchase from local suppliers, choose organic, and eat less meat and processed food.
- Reduce food wastage by planning your meals and grocery needs.
- Compost waste and use it for gardening.
- Add greenery to your indoor spaces.
- Repurpose and reuse household materials that are often thrown out. These can include containers, bags, boxes, and jars.
- Reduce consumption of chemical-laden products, from laundry detergents to hand soap. Replace them with natural alternatives where possible. For example, use a homemade potpourri with lime and cinnamon in place of an air freshener.
- Cut down plastic use by switching to recyclable or reusable materials. For instance, replace your single-use water bottles with a refillable glass alternative.
- Recycle to minimize waste accumulating in landfills. These can release toxins that enter the air, water, and soil.
- Carpool, walk, cycle, or use public transportation instead of driving.
- Take the stairs and avoid the elevator.
- Opt for paperless options — minimize printing, choose online statements instead of printed ones, and take notes on your computer or phone.
You can make a substantial difference by taking an active interest in sustainable practices. Research online to build your knowledge. Find experts in the field on Leadar and leverage their knowledge and support to create awareness and drive conversations on social media.
Your everyday action is not just hurting the planet. It could impact your well-being in more ways than you could imagine. This is why today’s health experts promote sustainable living as a solution for a deteriorating planet and deteriorating health. The physical and mental benefits of conscious choices are undeniable. So, integrate sustainable practices into your daily activities to secure a healthier life and a greener planet.