Living Sustainably for a Healthier You and Planet: Lifestyle Tips to Try
Updated: May 11
The choices you make every day can promote your health, strengthen your community and support ecologically sound practices.
While individual choices may seem minor in light of the collective impact of the 8 billion people living on Earth, prioritizing sustainability is a meaningful way to connect personal and planetary well-being.
Find out how your health and lifestyle choices can improve your life, set a positive example and contribute toward saving the planet
Support Sustainable Health Through Lifestyle Choices
Sustainable lifestyle choices focus on long-term wellness rather than short-term convenience.
Consuming more plant-based food grown responsibly is a good example of living more sustainably on the personal and planetary scales.
A diet consisting primarily of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts can be healthier for individuals.
Research indicates that plant-based foods can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, prevent chronic conditions, support maintaining a healthy weight and promote longevity (1).
On a larger scale, livestock takes up more than 80% of farmland but only accounts for 18% of the calories and 37% of the protein in human diets (2).
Meat and dairy production is responsible for over half of the 13.6 billion tons of greenhouse emissions generated by the food-producing agriculture sector annually.
Impact the Planet With Sustainable Personal Choices.
Sustainability is a framework that extends from individual choices to planetary impacts.
Individuals base their choices, in part, on the societal infrastructures and cultural norms that determine attitudes toward resource use across populations.
The principle of sustainability can be approached from the perspective of individual choices, present-day collective outcomes, or intergenerational impact.
From any of these perspectives, sustainability aims to minimize the use of non-renewable resources and waste production.
Striving toward sustainability involves choices that make living conditions more equitable for people alive today.
In a longer view, living sustainably means finding ways to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet new needs.
Prioritize Sustainable Health for Personal Wellness
Making your own present-day and long-term health a priority is one way to stay focused on sustainability.
Eating a healthy diet, including moderate amounts of responsibly raised meat and poultry, animal products such as eggs and cheese, and sustainably caught fish, can help you stay healthy.
In addition to a well-rounded diet, taking a multivitamin can ensure that you prevent deficiencies, encourage sustainable health, and feel your best every day.
You can also choose supplements that relieve stress or facilitate restful sleep to support your lifestyle and promote lifelong wellness (3, 4).
Exercise is also essential for personal health.
You can increase the impact of workouts by walking or biking for transportation whenever possible instead of driving.
Reduce emissions and burn anywhere from 50 to 100 calories per mile by walking at a moderate pace or over 50 calories per mile by biking (5, 6).
Identify Ways To Make More Sustainable Lifestyle Choices
You can make more sustainable choices by evaluating your daily habits, identifying any aspects of your lifestyle that do not align with long-term health and well-being, and finding more conscious alternatives.
Food and mobility are two of the primary areas that can directly impact your health.
When you start identifying unsustainable lifestyle choices, the obstacles to change can seem overwhelming.
Even small measures to promote sustainable health can be significant steps toward personal and planetary well-being.
Sustainable options are only sometimes readily available, and you may have to make some compromises.
Becoming more mindful of using limited resources can still be worthwhile in terms of your outlook and measurable impact.
Measure the Impact of Sustainable Lifestyle Choices
Several resources can help you quantify the stakes of personal choices.
The Global Footprint Network calculator estimates your personal Overshoot Day, the day you exceed your share of the limited resources available on Earth, and how many planets would be necessary if everyone shared your lifestyle (7).
Becoming a vegan to prioritize sustainable health is optional, but eating a plant-based diet shrinks your resource impact.
According to the Vegan Calculator, foregoing animal protein for a single day can save up to 1,100 gallons of water, 40 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forest, and 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (8).
You can also calculate your plastic footprint based on the rate at which you use consumables (9).
Potable water is also a limited resource.
Your water footprint factors in your use of tap water, water used to produce the food you eat, and your usage of electricity, gas, and household goods (10).
Share Your Choice To Live Sustainably
Letting others know about your choice to prioritize sustainable health normalizes lifestyle changes that can benefit everyone on Earth.
Start with your household, family, and friends, and move outward to your neighborhood and the larger community.
A combination of offscreen and online advocacy has the greatest potential to influence other people.
Sustainability is a cause that goes beyond political alignments and crosses national boundaries.
A broad, long-term view of personal and planetary health can change local, national, and global outcomes.
Starting conversations about sustainability regarding diet, transportation, and other lifestyle choices can increase awareness and be the basis for strong and lasting connections.
The goal of sharing your commitment to living more sustainably should be to make others aware that the choices they make directly affect other people living on the planet today and have the potential to shape future generations.
Make Sustainable Health Choices for Overall Wellness
While selecting foods with less environmental impact and limiting waste may not enable you to save the world single-handedly, prioritizing long-term sustainability can deepen your connection to the planet and brighten your outlook on the future.
Visit Clinical Effects to learn more about how eating a healthy diet and taking health supplements can help you prioritize sustainable health (11).