Vegan Fitness Guide

This comprehensive guide covers a wide range of vegan fitness activities, providing valuable insights into nine popular exercises. By following this guide, you will gain a thorough understanding of what it takes to enhance your physical fitness.

Engaging in regular exercise doesn't have to be a daunting or dreaded task. In fact, incorporating the necessary physical activity into your routine is likely easier than you think.

The Benefits of Vegan Fitness

Adopting a vegan lifestyle can provide numerous health benefits and contribute to overall well-being. However, it's crucial not to overlook the importance of incorporating fitness into your routine and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.
Fitness is not an optional aspect of a healthy lifestyle, and the rewards for embracing an active lifestyle are extensive. Regular physical activity can enhance your quality of sleep and contribute to maintaining a healthy body weight. It has the potential to improve your mood, boost energy levels, and reduce the risk of various health conditions, including diabetes. Additionally, engaging in fitness activities can significantly slow down cellular aging and potentially prevent age-related cognitive decline. Importantly, maintaining a basic level of fitness can alleviate aches and pains while promoting mental clarity and overall happiness in your day-to-day life.

You might be surprised to learn that achieving improved fitness doesn't require a significant amount of time and commitment. On average, dedicating just 150 minutes per week to moderate-intensity exercise can yield substantial benefits. This translates to a mere 20 minutes a day of activities as simple and accessible as brisk walking. Furthermore, if you engage in more vigorous aerobic exercises, you can achieve the same benefits with just 75 minutes of exercise per week.

The Emotional Benefits of Exercise

For individuals who experience depression, there is an added incentive to prioritize fitness. Multiple studies have established a connection between physical exercise and improved emotional well-being. A comprehensive review of 25 studies concluded that exercise had a substantial and meaningful impact on reducing symptoms of depression.

Keeping this in perspective, it is valuable to remember the empowering saying: "You're just one workout away from a better mood."

Activities to Improve Your Fitness

There is no universal approach to achieving fitness or maintaining a healthy physique. The most valuable advice is to choose an activity that genuinely brings you joy. By doing so, you will never view exercise as a burdensome task.

Now, let's explore some of the most popular methods for getting fit. Simply click on any of the links below to jump directly to our coverage of that specific activity.

  • Walking and Hiking
  • Jogging and Running
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Weight & Resistance Training
  • Climbing
  • Yoga
  • Chi Gong and Tai Chi
  • Office Fitness

Engaging in one of these activities on a near-daily basis is all you need to break free from a sedentary lifestyle.

Walking and Hiking

Walking is perhaps one of the simplest and most accessible forms of exercise. If you have a park, hiking trail, or access to nature in close proximity to your home, it can serve as an additional motivation to engage in a daily walk. Walking provides excellent cardiovascular benefits, especially when incorporating hilly terrain.

To make your daily walk even more purposeful, consider practicing what I call "destination walking." Is there a coffee shop, post office, or library located about a twenty-minute walk away from your home? By making a daily visit to one of these places part of your routine, you can easily accumulate forty minutes of walking each day. This alone will elevate you beyond a sedentary lifestyle and double the minimum fitness recommendations.

For a more serene experience, opt for hiking in natural surroundings rather than urban areas. Even if you reside in a city, it's likely that you can incorporate a significant portion of your walk through a beautiful park.

Jogging and Running

Jogging provides a more intense cardiovascular workout compared to walking, but it also carries a higher risk of injury. Individuals with underlying cardiovascular conditions should be cautious with long-distance running, as it may lead to an enlarged heart.

If you have access to a track with a rubberized surface, such as those found in universities or affluent towns, it is advisable to utilize them. These tracks help reduce the impact on your joints and remove the hazards and exhaust fumes associated with running near car traffic.

A limitation of both walking and jogging is that they primarily target the muscles below the waist. To address this, some enthusiasts incorporate the use of cardio dumbbells weighing around one kilogram each. These weights can significantly enhance overall fitness. By adding resistance to your walking or jogging routine, you can burn more calories, stimulate your cardiovascular system, and tone your arms, making the exercise more comprehensive.


Swimming is often considered a superior exercise compared to running in several aspects. Many people argue that it is the best form of exercise due to its numerous benefits. One advantage is that swimming is low-impact, causing minimal stress on the joints. Unlike runners who frequently experience injuries such as shin splints, knee, and ankle problems, swimmers tend to have a lower risk of injury. Additionally, swimming offers a more meditative experience as individuals are immersed in water, creating a sense of tranquility and muffled noises. 

However, it's important to note that swimming is not a weight-bearing exercise, which means it may not provide sufficient stimulation for maintaining optimal bone health. To address this, incorporating resistance exercises is recommended (refer to the Weight & Resistance Training section below).

One challenge with swimming lies in the nature of the water itself. While saltwater pools offer an ideal swimming environment, they require significant maintenance efforts and are not commonly accessible. Most gym and school pools utilize chlorinated water, which is more readily available but may have its own drawbacks.

The use of chlorine in swimming pools can bring about discomfort and inconvenience. The chemical can cause stinging sensations in the eyes, and goggles may not provide adequate protection, leading to leaks and discomfort. Regular exposure to pool chlorine can also have negative effects on hair, often observed in the damaged hair of individuals, particularly those on school swim teams. Even after taking a thorough shower following a swim, traces of chlorine may remain in the pores, resulting in a lingering scent when sweating later. Personally, I am not fond of chlorine and have reservations. In my opinion, if a saltwater option is unavailable, swimming pools are best suited for skating.

Swimming in natural bodies of water such as lakes or rivers can be an alternative to avoid chlorine exposure. However, this comes with its own set of challenges, including cold water temperatures, potential encounters with snapping turtles, snakes, rocks, aquatic weeds entangling around the ankles, and various floating objects. In tropical freshwater environments, additional hazards like alligators, water moccasins, leeches, and even piranhas may be present. Ocean swimming, on the other hand, replaces these discomforts with different risks such as rip currents, unpredictable waves, jellyfish, and sharks.

Nevertheless, swimming remains an exceptional form of exercise. If one can overcome or find ways to address these challenges, the benefits of swimming can be truly rewarding.


Bicycling offers great health benefits, but it comes with inherent risks, making it the most hazardous activity discussed here. Due to numerous close encounters with automobiles, I personally decided to stop riding bikes years ago. However, advancements in technology, such as self-driving cars, hold the promise of making cycling safer in the future. Unfortunately, until that time arrives, we have to contend with drivers who engage in dangerous behaviors like texting while indulging in ice cream cones.

Cycling-related fatalities and hospitalizations occur at a significant rate, although the risks are lower compared to activities like skiing or snowboarding. It is important not to downplay the potential for serious injuries while cycling. Additionally, the stereotypical attire of many cyclists, featuring tight black lycra shorts paired with brightly colored neon shirts, is often seen as unappealing or uncomfortable.

Despite the previous criticisms, cycling offers numerous positive aspects. Bicycles not only provide a fantastic opportunity to improve fitness levels but also serve as a fast and cost-effective means of transportation. In many urban areas, cycling can be nearly as efficient as driving a car, if not quicker. The added benefits include avoiding the need for auto insurance, costly repairs, monthly payments, and the hassle of finding parking spaces.

Types of Bicycles

If you're seeking a practical and affordable option for combining transportation with exercise, a low-cost steel-framed commuter bike can be a suitable choice. These bikes, particularly if they show signs of wear, are less likely to be targeted for theft. Alternatively, if you reside in a predominantly flat area, a single-speed cruiser-style bike may be worth considering. While cruisers may not be the most practical option, they have a way of bringing joy to your rides.

For those aiming to take cycling more seriously as a form of exercise, investing in a high-quality bike is recommended. Local bike shops are the ideal destination for such purchases. In the past, bike shops carried a wide range of bikes, but larger retail stores have taken over the low-end market. As a result, bike shops now cater to dedicated cyclists and can offer expert advice to enthusiastic beginners.

Road bikes are the preferred choice for elite events like the Tour de France, while touring bikes are suitable for long leisurely rides or multi-day bike tours. Entry-level road bikes that meet the standards of avid cyclists start around £2000. Scott road bikes, priced similarly, offer excellent value for those seeking an exceptional bike that is still more affordable than a decent used car.

Weight & Resistance Training

Resistance training, commonly known as weight training, encompasses various forms of exercise where you push against resistance, including gravity. This type of training can range from casual to intense, and its benefits extend far beyond simply building muscle mass. While all forms of exercise can help reduce stress, weight training has a unique effectiveness in this regard. There's a certain satisfaction in repeatedly lifting a heavy weight until your muscles reach their limit. Moreover, engaging in any type of resistance lifting can significantly strengthen your bones.

When it comes to home workouts, a conventional free weight barbell and bench setup may not be the most ideal option, especially since having a spotter is safer for bench exercises. If joining a gym is not feasible and you prefer bench-style workouts or using dumbbells instead of barbells, there are alternative options available.

Dumbbells have long been favored by bodybuilders due to their convenience and ability to provide a wide range of motion during exercises. However, in recent years, kettlebells have gained popularity and surpassed dumbbells as a preferred piece of gym equipment. Weight training enthusiasts often regard kettlebells as ideal for endurance-focused strength workouts that involve fluid and continuous movements.

Recommended Equipment for Resistance Training

Don't get caught up in the debate between dumbbells and kettlebells – both can yield excellent results for your workouts. Online advice can be overwhelming and contradictory, so instead of diving into that rabbit hole, consider getting a reliable book on either dumbbell or kettlebell training and focus on that guidance.

If you're considering weightlifting, purchasing used equipment can be a cost-effective option. Many people part ways with weightlifting equipment when they move, making it available at a lower price in like-new condition.

For those looking for a more budget-friendly approach to resistance training, resistance bands are a great option. These affordable bands offer a wide range of exercises that provide benefits comparable to weight training. While they may not contribute to significant muscle bulk like barbells or dumbbells, resistance bands are effective in increasing strength. Additionally, they can also promote bone health, just like free weights and other forms of resistance exercise. Fitness bands are especially popular among frequent travelers due to their compact size and lightweight nature, making them easy to carry in a suitcase.


If you find traditional workout routines boring and lacking motivation, it might be worth considering climbing as an alternative. Among various fitness activities, climbing offers unique mental challenges that can keep you engaged. If you're uncomfortable with heights, many cities now have indoor climbing gyms that feature bouldering walls. These walls are relatively low, equipped with a cushioned floor to ensure safety. Indoor bouldering doesn't require ropes or specialized equipment, aside from climbing shoes and chalk for better grip. Each bouldering wall typically offers numerous routes, with different levels of difficulty marked by colored tape on handholds and footholds. Climbing can be a humbling experience, as it often takes years for most individuals to conquer routes beyond the intermediate level.

Indoor climbing gyms often provide taller walls for "top roping" activities, where a partner belays you as you climb. With proper knowledge, attention, and adherence to safety protocols, this type of climbing can be remarkably safe, despite the potential heights involved. Indoor top-roping offers a controlled and secure environment compared to outdoor climbing, where even experienced climbers face significant risks.

Climbing engages muscles you may not even be aware of and offers a well-rounded combination of strength and cardio training. Out of all the exercise forms mentioned in this article, climbing stands out as a personal favorite, as it provides a unique sense of satisfaction and overall well-being.

Proper climbing footwear is essential, especially for utilizing precarious footholds, which make up a significant portion of the climbing technique. Even beginners should invest in specialized climbing shoes. While it's possible to rent climbing shoes at the gym, considering that they are worn without socks, tightly fit, and can induce perspiration, it's advisable to have your own pair rather than relying on rented shoes, just like you wouldn't consider renting a toothbrush.


Similar to climbing, yoga provides a well-rounded combination of strength and conditioning. While some yoga styles may not appear highly demanding, there are forms that require significant exertion. It's important to note that yoga-related injuries are surprisingly common. For those who prefer less intense exercise, exploring yin yoga, which involves gentle yet deep stretches held for extended periods, can be a worthwhile option.

When starting yoga, it is crucial to learn from a qualified instructor. Opting for small class sizes is ideal because, particularly in the beginning, it is common to perform postures incorrectly. Being in a setting where the teacher can provide constant corrections and guidance is beneficial.

While the initial motivation for practicing yoga may be to attain physical benefits such as a toned body, it's important to recognize that yoga is fundamentally a spiritual practice. As you delve deeper into your yoga journey, you may discover profound experiences and a sense of mental stability that goes beyond physical goals. Devoting yourself to a regular yoga practice brings about far-reaching effects that extend to various aspects of your life, offering more than just fitness and flexibility.

Chi Gong and Tai Chi

I have yet to come across an activity that offers such remarkable benefits with such minimal time and effort invested. Qi Gong and Tai Chi are both rooted in the cultivation of energy and can greatly improve your flexibility while fostering a sense of balance in your life. Although these practices may not primarily focus on aerobic fitness or strength conditioning, they effectively prevent a sedentary lifestyle.

What sets Qi Gong and Tai Chi apart from yoga is that you can learn them entirely through instructional videos, without the need for personal guidance or instruction.

Office Fitness

While the suggestions in this section may not meet all your fitness requirements, incorporating a few pieces of equipment into your office can help break up the monotony of the day and significantly increase your overall activity level. Engaging in some physical activity can do wonders for reducing the stresses of a busy workday.

One activity I personally enjoy during my workday is combining a pair of devil sticks with the Pomodoro technique. Essentially, you set a timer and dedicate 25 uninterrupted minutes to work—this means no checking emails! When the timer goes off, you reward yourself with a mandatory five-minute break (remember, it's important not to cut the break short, just as it's important to complete the full 25 minutes of work).

Equipment for Office Fitness

During my five-minute break, I enjoy flipping around my devil sticks. These sticks require minimal space and are excellent for improving hand-eye coordination. Unlike sports such as tennis or bowling, devil sticks provide equal attention to both sides of your body.

To incorporate more activity into your workday, you can keep dumbbells, resistance bands, or a stress ball near your office chair. Another option is to replace your office chair with a Pilates ball, as long as it's the appropriate height. Balancing on a Pilates ball while working can strengthen your abdominal muscles and prevent slouching. In fact, I wrote my longest book, Meat Market, while sitting on a Pilates ball. If you're interested in a chair that challenges your balance, you might consider investing in one of those unique-looking ball chairs.

Fitness Trackers

Fitness trackers can be a valuable tool to help you reach your fitness goals, whether you prefer walking, jogging, or swimming. These trackers provide an added level of motivation to stick to your daily routine.

Beyond tracking your physical activity, many fitness trackers can also monitor your heart rate, allowing you to stay within the optimal zone for maximizing your conditioning. Some trackers even have the ability to track your sleep patterns if worn overnight, helping you identify any potential sleep issues.

Tracking Fitness with Phones & Watches

The latest Apple Watch is often regarded as one of the top fitness trackers available, offering a wide range of tracking features. However, if you're looking for a more affordable option, Fitbit provides many similar tracking features at a lower price point. If you're willing to forego heart rate and sleep monitoring, you can even find smartphone apps that offer most of the tracking features for free.

Smartphones, both iOS and Android, offer various free fitness apps that can track your activity. For Android users, the Google Fit platform is a popular choice, providing features such as speed, distance, route, and elevation tracking. By using these apps, you can receive accurate measurements of your speed and distance, especially with the inclusion of GPS, giving you a comprehensive overview of your fitness activities.

Fitness Trackers for Swimming & Bicycling

Fitness tracking is well-suited for swimming, but it's important to select a waterproof device that can withstand water exposure.

For cyclists, the popularity of fitness tracking is also on the rise. If you frequently ride a bike, you might want to invest in a handlebar mounted unit. These devices offer comprehensive tracking capabilities, including distance, altitude, cadence, and more. Some models even provide navigation features, although you can opt for a separate mount to attach your phone for navigation purposes if you prefer.

Eating and Sleeping

Fitness, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep are considered the essential elements of a healthy lifestyle (although the importance of a positive mindset should not be overlooked, but that's a topic for another discussion). Once you have established a regular exercise routine, it is important to also focus on consuming nutritious food and prioritizing sufficient sleep. In this final part of the presentation, we will explore both aspects in more detail.

For a comprehensive understanding of vegan nutrition, we have a dedicated page that provides all the key information you need to know.

The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep

Now, let's conclude by briefly discussing the importance of sleep. Many individuals experience insufficient sleep but often fail to address the issue.

Determining whether you are getting enough sleep is subjective, as sleep requirements vary significantly among individuals. However, a useful starting point is to observe how you feel in the morning. Do you wake up feeling refreshed, motivated, and energized? Or do you struggle to get out of bed, feeling groggy and fatigued? If the latter scenario is more common, it may be worth considering how to improve your sleep quality.

To promote deeper and more rejuvenating sleep, the following habits can significantly make a difference:

  • Avoid falling asleep with the television on, as it can disrupt your sleep quality.
  • Make an effort to go to bed earlier to ensure sufficient sleep duration.
  • Incorporate a meditation practice into your daily routine, even if it's just for five minutes, as it can improve your sleep.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption, especially near bedtime, as it can interfere with your sleep patterns.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake, particularly if you consume more than a couple of cups of coffee or tea per day, and avoid consuming any caffeine after lunch.
  • Consider using a sleep tracking device like Fitbit or Apple Watch to monitor your sleep patterns.

If you frequently struggle with falling asleep or experience disruptions during the night, know that you're not alone. Many individuals face similar sleep difficulties, but the good news is that the underlying causes can often be identified and addressed.

It’s All About Attitude

Approaching fitness can be seen in two ways: as an obligatory task or as an enjoyable opportunity. Discovering a physical activity that you genuinely look forward to can significantly contribute to your overall well-being and happiness.

Fitness preferences vary from person to person. Throughout my life, I have explored various physical activities, but there are still many that fail to capture my interest. Personally, I would go to great lengths to avoid jiu-jitsu, swimming in chlorinated pools, or participating in Ironman triathlons. However, these activities bring joy and purpose to millions of individuals, and likewise, the activities I love—such as long hikes, devil sticks, yin yoga, and indoor bouldering—may not resonate with everyone.

Therefore, it is worth trying different fitness ideas mentioned here and discovering which ones resonate with you. Joseph Campbell's advice to follow your bliss holds particularly true when it comes to physical fitness. No single activity can appeal to everyone. So, explore a variety of activities until you find something you genuinely enjoy, and then make it a daily commitment in your schedule.

Are Vegan Diets Healthy?

Individuals of all ages can thrive on a vegan diet. The most comprehensive evaluation of the health benefits of vegan diets concluded that "Vegan and vegetarian diets can offer substantial health advantages when compared to non-vegetarian diets."

Why go vegan?

Joining a vegan lifestyle promotes good health, preserve numerous animal lives, and contribute to the fight against climate change. Also, the culinary experience of vegan food is truly delightful and becoming more accessible every year.

How to Go Vegan?

If you're planning to go vegan, you don't have to do it alone. This guide covers all aspects of transitioning to a vegan diet in an enjoyable way. By the time you complete reading it, you'll have a clear understanding of how to proceed confidently.

What Foods are Vegan?

By reading our introduction to vegan cuisine, you'll never face difficulty in finding delightful meals. Our comprehensive guide encompasses various aspects, including grocery shopping, convenient food options, dining out, and even travel recommendations.

Try Out a Vegan Diet

Embarking on a vegan diet is incredibly simple. Here is all the information you require to get started. Whether you choose to follow it for a day, a week, or a month, you will have an enjoyable experience and gain valuable knowledge.

Vegan Cooking Made Easy

Enhancing your cooking abilities is a highly effective approach to facilitate your shift to a vegan diet.

Investing just an hour or two in acquiring fundamental cooking skills can bring lifelong benefits to your culinary journey.

Vegan Nutrition Guide

A vegan diet offers significant health advantages since it it a nutritionally balanced, rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and plant-based proteins. Plant-based diets are linked to lower cholesterol levels and a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Vegan Fitness Guide

This guide provides extensive information on vegan fitness, examining nine of the most popular activities. I will cover everything you need to know to elevate your physical fitness and reach new levels of performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any specific inquiries about veganism, our FAQ section provides precise and reliable answers. It covers 24 of the most frequently asked questions related to veganism, offering clear and definitive responses.

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