The Role of Exercise in Sustainability

Article by Sacha Bindra

When most students think of sustainability, they commonly think of conserving the environment through low-impact activities. Yet an often overlooked aspect of sustainability is wellness and lifestyle. Although frequently ignored, personal wellbeing is crucial for cultivating a healthy, sustainable, and well-balanced community. While it’s equally important to focus on the environmental aspect of sustainability, it’s also crucial to take time to improve the health and quality of life of ourselves and those around us. One of the easiest ways to improve your lifestyle is to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

Whether you work out alone or in a group, play a sport, go for walks, or hit the gym, exercise has a vast number of physical and mental benefits. By releasing biochemicals like endorphins, exercise encourages positive feelings and behavior, and a willingness to improve the wellbeing of an entire community. Furthermore, exercise is beneficial, as well as sustainable, due to its minimal impact on the environment. To take it a step further, activities such as hiking allow people to gain a greater appreciation for the natural world as they really help immerse you in nature. Generally, exercise and sport provide the perfect sustainable combination by being feasible and accessible ways to positively shape aspects of the sustainability compass, such as Nature, Wellbeing, and Society.

People often overlook the negative environmental impacts of their hobbies and respective lifestyles, and the idea is that by doing or using less, you are being more sustainable. Exercise is one of the exceptions, and if it’s done right, working out can have almost no environmental impact. If hiking isn’t accessible, local parks and fields are perfect places to get in touch with nature while jogging or playing games with friends. When done safely, diving and snorkelling are also excellent ways to gain a greater awareness of marine life. Biking is another terrific form of exercise that not only improves health, but is a sustainable form of alternative transport. Getting involved in sports teams also has vast social and community benefits, as seen from events such as IASAS, which brings Bearcats and other IASAS athletes alike together. Above all, it’s clear that exercise doesn’t have to be a time and resource-consuming activity. It’s easy to recognize its benefits on all sides of the sustainability compass, not just wellbeing.

By making small alterations to our lifestyles, we have the power to transform ourselves and our community. In taking a few minutes each day to interact with nature or our peers, we bring a balance to our lives that didn’t exist before. Through this balance, we’re able to sustain our minds and our health, preparing us for the challenges of the future. With upcoming exams and a potentially stressful end to the year, take care of yourself in a sustainable way by getting active!

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