Walking to the market is good cardio for your body and an eco-friendly alternative to driving your car. Walking to the store is just one example on a list of many ways to foster healthier, earth-friendlier habits. If you’re looking for a few healthy, earth-conscious alternatives to improve your body and the planet—and consider these five tips for a better you and a better earth.
Use “greener” cleaners.
Just like many of the good things we do for our bodies are good for the earth, many of the chemicals that are harmful to us are just as harmful to the environment. We’re looking at you toxic, chlorine-based cleaners. While the effects may be positive when it comes to killing harmful germs, many of the cleaners on the market aren’t good for our bodies or the earth. Here’s a plan. Start using green cleaners by checking the labels to make sure they’re non-toxic, bleach-free solutions. You can even save money and make your own healthier cleaning solutions using essential oils mixed with materials you may already have on hand—like white vinegar, baking soda, water, natural dish soap and even plain vodka. Do an online search for easy DIY recipes. Whether you buy or mix, the goal is to kill germs without killing brain cells and help keep the earth safe.
It’s cool to carpool.
Putting fewer emissions in the ozone and more money in your wallet—carpooling is a huge benefit when it comes to maintaining cleaner air in your community and your financial wellbeing. It’s also a great social exercise. If you’re an extrovert who recharges in the company of others, your emotional wellbeing could benefit from a few crowded car rides to and from work. You can use the time to discuss work projects or share healthy recipes or exercise tips—all while sharing eco-friendly behavior. So check with co-workers who live close by or neighbors who work near you. The State of Michigan offers several car pool and ride share options to try.
It’s even cooler to bike to work.
If you live near your workplace, you’ve probably considered the benefits of biking to work. For those of you waiting for the right reasons to try it, riding a bike is as good for the environment as it is for your health. Cycling is a great way to burn calories (between 40 and 60 per mile), stay in shape and keep the ozone intact. If you’ve already made Earth Day arrangements, there are plenty of other opportunities to try biking to work, including the entire month of May. “Bike Month” is just around the corner and many cities like Detroit have their own bike-to-work days. For safety’s sake, be sure to wear a helmet. And if you drive after dark, make sure your bike has lights or reflectors. Just like driving a car—always follow the rules of the road.
Spend more time outside (and turn the lights off inside).
Walking, hiking, climbing, running, exploring, adventuring and just plain moving around outside can be great for your heart, your mind, your skin, your muscles and more. Here’s an added benefit: when you’re exercising outside, you’re saving energy inside, which is “A-OK” on Earth Day and every day. Can you imagine the amount of energy the world could save if everyone turned off the power at home to go outside for just an hour a day? Earthhour.org did. Check out this they put together showing how much energy we can save if we went powerless for just one hour. Now imagine how great we’d all feel if we spent that hour exercising!
There are so many other ways to improve your health and the environment at the same time—and Earth Day is a great day to get started. Visit your local community’s websites to see which activities can be conducive to better health. Our planet will thank you. Priority Health members can check the Wellbeing Hub to see which activities or programs are right for them based on their health plan. If you’re not a member, talk to your health insurance provider to see if any programs in your part of Michigan support your health and environmental goals.