by Matt Schifferle, Certified Personal Trainer

Nutritious eating and exercise can benefit much more than just your health and physical appearance; many healthy habits can also protect the environment. In honor of Earth Day on April 22, here are six eco-friendly tips that will improve both your fitness and the life of Mr. Polar Bear. 

Keep a glass water bottle.
Glass is the perfect material for holding liquids. Glass cannot leak chemicals, is not polymer-based (made from oil), and you can use it for years without hardly any wear and tear. Further, your beverages stay pure, you remain hydrated, and thousands of plastic bottles do not end up in a landfill. 

Make exercise part of your commute.
Few things burn more fat and calories than an active commute. Wouldn’t it be great if you could work out twice a day, five days a week while reducing air pollution and traffic congestion? Not to mention, you would be saving lots of money. If you measure that caloric value of gasoline, the average bike rider gets more than 1,120 miles to the gallon!

Shop local and often.
It’s simple math: the closer a food originated from you, the less fossil fuels and pollution created to get it to your plate. Another great bonus to shopping locally is that it keeps your dollars in the local economy. Shopping often (around every 2-3 days) ensures your food stays fresh and you don’t buy so much that it can spoil before you eat it. Less spoilage means less waste, which in turn means fewer resources used to supply more food.

Fruits and veggies are your best friend.
Plants do wonderful things for the world we live in. They filter CO2, support local wildlife and keep erosion in check. The foods that plants produce are delicious and do a great job of nourishing your body. The more plants you consume in your diet, the more demand there is to keep growing them. Both you and Mother Nature gain in this ultimate win-win. 

Snack less. 
A lot of natural resources are spent on the production and delivery of those packaged snacks you nibble on, even when you may not even be hungry. By cutting back on packaged snacks, you’ll keep a lot of waste out of the environment and extra calories out of your body. Save your calories and foods for full-on meals when you’ll gain the most from more natural and substantial foods. If you do snack, buy in bulk, using your own containers from home to eliminate the use of can, carton and plastic bag packaging.

Get outside.
No need to burn electricity indoors; burn calories outside with Mother Nature. The hiking trails and bike paths down the street can be some of the best fitness resources available, plus they’re always free. Being outside also increases your Vitamin D intake, which does your body, mind and soul some good. Don’t forget to wear some (eco-friendly) sunscreen!

Why can't every day be Earth Day? Work these six tips into your daily routine because the planet – and your body – can never have too much TLC.