Eco-friendly fitness: smart ways to green your routine

It's time to make your workout routine more sustainable with these planet-friendly moves, which can help reduce your fitness footprint and smash your goals

fitness, fitness footprint, eco, exercise, sustainable, sustainability

Follow green fit-fluencers

Get inspired by this earth-loving Instagram crew:

Zanna van Dijk @zannavandijk
Co-founder of sustainable swimwear Stay Wild Swim. She shares workouts and insights on conscious living.

Sophie Hellyer @sophiehellyer
A surfer, yoga pro, environmentalist and the force behind wild swimming collective Rise Fierce.

Lizzie Carr @lizzie_outside
An adventurer who runs Planet Patrol – a community dedicated to litter clean-ups on land and water.

Do as the Swedish do

Plogging – from the Swedish plocka upp, meaning ‘pick up’ – involves collecting litter as you go for a walk, jog or run outside. Up the ante by busting out some squats when you go to grab that empty crisp packet.

Y’all ready for this?

The UK consumed four billion litres of bottled water in 2019. Instead of buying a freshie pre-run, invest in a reusable Chilly’s Water Bottle*. A win for your wallet, as well as the battle against plastics.

Run to help others

Charity Miles is a free app that tracks your movement. For every mile you log on a run, hike or trip to the shops, its sponsors donate to your charity, whether it’s World Wildlife Fund, Charity: Water, or global children’s charity UNICEF.

fitness, fitness footprint, eco, exercise, sustainable, sustainability

Green-washing we like!

You’re washing gym gear – which laundry setting
do you choose?
a. delicate or b. standard

The answer is B – true story! A delicate setting releases 800,000 more microfibres from polyester fabric per wash compared with a standard one. As well washing synthetics on a low setting, try a Guppyfriend Washing Bag (around £27; en.guppyfriend.com) to limit fibre shedding. And use Ecover Zero Sensitive Non-Bio Washing Powder, which has plant-based and biodegradable ingredients in recycled packaging.

fitness, fitness footprint, eco, exercise, sustainable, sustainability

Shorten your post-sesh shower time

Did you know that 12% of Brits spend up to 20 minutes in the shower? Even if you’ve just hammered out a HIIT class, there’s no need to send water sloshing down the drain. If you’re at home, try putting a clock in your bathroom – research suggests we shave off roughly two minutes per shower when we’re aware of how long we’ve been in there. And make the time count by embracing multi-tasking time-savers, such as Ethique Wonderbar Solid Conditioner Bar** – not only does it leave hair soft, but it also doubles as a shaving bar and in-shower moisturiser. And the best benefit? It won’t leak in your gym bag.


… of us want brands to help us live a greener lifestyle, according to a survey of more than 1,000 people in the UK and USA by agency Futerra. So ask your gym or favourite activewear label what moves it’s making. You could inspire them to take action!

Pedal power

If keeping the lights on isn’t an incentive to pedal harder, we don’t know what is! So, when you’re able to safely return to the gym, look to keep fit the eco-friendly way. Members of Terra Hale†† (meaning ‘strong earth’) in London and The Green Gym Group†† in Brighton exercise on equipment that then generates electricity to actually power the facility. Amazing! You could also look out for kit that doesn’t need electricity at all – human-powered treadmills are now available, from boutique gyms to Virgin Active†† spaces.

Rethink your recovery fuel

Edible insects are tipped as the sustainable food of the future. Stick with us here! They’re high in protein, plus farming them puts less pressure on the planet’s resources compared with meat. Intrigued? Add some crickets or mealworms to your post- workout stir fry or salad – check out eatgrub.co.uk.

If you’re too freaked out about an insect buffet, explore plant-based protein instead, with the likes of beans, lentils and tofu. Try adding Purition Wholefood Plant Based Protein With Cocoa**, to smoothies, too.

fitness, fitness footprint, eco, exercise, sustainable, sustainability

Avoid clothes ending up in landfill by giving them to H&M’s garment recycling service. So, if those old gym items are too grubby to donate to charity, hand a bag of them in at any store in exchange for a £5 voucher. It doesn’t matter the condition or brand. Hurrah! As for all those empty toiletry bottles you’ve used in the gym (and elsewhere)? You can now recycle empty plastic packaging in up to 50 Boots stores. Go to boots.scan2recycle.com to register, and visit boots.com/boots-recycling-scheme for full details.

fitness, fitness footprint, eco, exercise, sustainable, sustainability

Clean green

Spritz your mat (or kit)with an eco antibac spray, or make your own (check online for solutions), and add to a Boots Water Spray Bottle! Namaste.

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Shake up your protein intake

If you fancy a tasty way to get your vitamins on the go, look no further. Ensure Max Protein Shake contains 30g of protein to help maintain muscle mass***, plus vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12 and minerals to help reduce fatigue and tiredness†††.  Available in delicious Chocolate, Vanilla and Mocha flavours. Shake and enjoy!

***Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass. †††Vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12 contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Food Supplements are intended to supplement the diet and should not be substituted for a varied diet or healthy lifestyle.

††Covid-19 restrictions permitting. **Available on boots.com and in selected stores. †Subject to availability.