(A guest blog by Sustainable Jungle)
As with sustainable living, there is no one right fitness routine for everyone. Fitness for you might be training for a marathon... or it might be doing a yoga flow at home with a glass of wine. Regardless of which camp you fall into, we could all stand, squat, and sprint for lower impact gear to do it in.
Sustainable activewear is the future of fitness. Like the benefits of exercise, there are benefits of responsibly-made activewear, too. Here are some justifications for opting for that sustainable workout gear.
1. Better Performance
More than 90% of sportswear contains some type of plastic-based fabric. Anything derived from petroleum is obviously not a sustainable fabric, so it’s time we turn to something more natural.
And there are many natural and semi-synthetic fibers that are actually far better for your workout than plastic. Like hemp and lyocell, which are two of Iron Roots’s most used fabrics.
Aside from being antimicrobial and biodegradable, they also don't cause static charges like plastic does. Both are also thermoregulating. Hemp retains body heat (good for a cold morning jog or those gyms that feel the need to constantly blast A/C) while Lyocell is naturally cooling, making it perfect for hot yoga, for example.
2. Quality Goods and Materials Last Longer
Our workout clothes take quite the beating. From wicking away your sweat to stretching out when working those glutes. Durability is a key in all sportswear.
Higher quality fabrics (unlike fast fashion yoga pants from H&M) can better keep up with us and withstand the wear and tear of working out for far longer. Replacing worn out workout wear less often means you save money in the long run and lots of textile waste from hitting the landfill.
Supporting brands like Iron Roots, means you’re supporting slow fashion activewear and when it does finally wear out, you can send it back to be recycled into new clothes…. And get a further discount on some replacement goodies for doing so!
3. Better Chance of Fair Wages for the Whole Supply Chain
That all has to do with the sustainable side of sustainable and ethical fashion. What about the ethical part?
Brands making eco friendly activewear are often those also making ethical activewear, made using Fair Trade guidelines that ensure fair pay and safe working environments for their laborers. For example, brands making organic activewear are keeping cotton farmers from being exposed to countless harmful chemicals linked to a gamut of health problems. Some of the certifications you can look for in brands are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
4. Lower Environmental Impact
Choosing eco friendly activewear means a better environmental footprint. One important thing is that no microplastics are released from organic sportswear. Organic fibers and those grown without intensive chemical fertilizers and pesticides are crucial as these types of farming chemicals are causing a rapid loss of biodiversity. And farmers hold the key to preserving biodiversity. But you can’t have sustainable farming unless you’re willing to pay farmers enough to fund it. The more ethical, the more sustainable, and vice versa. It’s all connected.
At the end-of-product-life level, sustainable fabrics are also better for the environment. Remember 90% of activewear is made from plastic. And that can’t biodegrade…ever. The only good end-of-life outcome for synthetic fibers is if they are recycled, but considering the textile recycling is so bleak, it’s not a realistic solution.
And even if you do recycle them, it still doesn’t fix the fact that synthetic fibers release microplastics into our waterways every time we wash them. Which eventually find their way into our oceans.
5. A Clear Conscience
Sweating out the toxins in our bodies shouldn’t come at the cost of putting toxins back into the earth. We work out to be healthy, but there’s no sense if we’re not also going to pay due diligence to our hearts and minds too. Choosing eco friendly activewear means choosing a healthier path for both our bodies and our planet, and that’s a health routine anyone can do.
Just think how good your post-workout high will be when you add some eco to that endorphin rush!
Thanks to our friends over at sustainable jungle for this blog!