Friday, April 22, is Earth Day! The celebration dates back to 1970 when it began in the US. Today, it’s a global event, and more than one billion people across 190+ countries take action to increase awareness about environmental issues and create a greener, more eco-friendly planet. This Earth Day, whether you’re looking to make a difference or simply celebrate the great outdoors, here are a few eco- and fitness-friendly ways to commemorate the day.

Bike to work

Not only is it good for your health, it helps the environment by reducing air pollutants. If biking isn’t an option, take public transportation or try carpooling. Biking at a moderate speed of 12 to 13.9 miles per hour burns approximately 298 calories in 30 minutes for a 155-pound person.

Go for a “Plog”

Plogging, a fitness trend out of Sweden, is “plucking” litter while on a jog, and combines athletic and earth-friendly pursuits. Head out for a run wearing gloves and equipped with a trash bag. The activity has spread across Europe and into the United States.

Take a hike

Earth Day is an ideal opportunity to get back to nature. Explore local options for a day of hiking. It’s great exercise and not only benefits your physical health, but your mental health. Science shows that immersion in nature improves your mental well-being.

Exercise outdoors

Ditch the treadmill and Peloton for the day and go for a run or a walk outside in the fresh air. It’s free and doesn’t require a power source.

Exercise your green thumb

Gardening is a full-body workout and can burn up to 300 calories per hour, making it a great moderate-intensity workout. Work in your backyard, or volunteer at a local garden or conservancy. You’ll get fit and beautify the landscape at the same time.

Use sustainable athletic gear

When purchasing athletic gear, seek out athletic brands with a sustainable story. A growing number of eco-friendly brands are entering the market, including products made from recycled water bottles! And before you grab a plastic water bottle out of the fridge, reach for a reusable bottle instead. 

Leave the car in the garage

Ditch the car, Uber, or Lyft and use your feet to travel. Without being reliant on wheels, you’ll secretly squeeze in fitness and save on those crazy gas prices as well!

So, on Earth Day, join the billions of people around the world and celebrate both fitness and sustainability. With an eco-friendly workout, you’ll not only take steps to improve yourself, but also contribute to a healthier planet.  

Authored by Zach Meeker, Research Assistant for Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush University Medical Center


Gregory N. Bratman, J. Paul Hamilton, Kevin S. Hahn, Gretchen C. Daily, and James J. Gross  (2015). Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation. Psychological and Cognitive Sciences. 112 (28) 8567-8572.

Click here for full podcast playlist.