Team GB won 65 medals in total, including 22 Gold, 21 Silver and 22 Bronze at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. The world's biggest sports event featured a many vegan athletes from around the world, including Team GB’s boxer Cheavon Clarke and rugby ace Dan Bibby. In fact, more than two-thirds of Team GB recently stated they’ve successfully reduced their meat consumption.
Team GB's vegan duathlon athlete Lisa Gawthorne, said: “It was absolutely fantastic to see so many vegans competing at the Tokyo Olympics – they’re such an inspiration and there’s no better platform to show the entire world exactly what is possible on a vegan diet.”
“I know that going vegan helped me run further, cycle faster and recover quicker too. I want people to realise how good it can make you feel – how you feel getting the right nutrients, but also knowing you haven’t caused animal pain and slaughter. It’s the best thing ever for your mind, body and soul. If the Olympic Games have inspired you to give veganism a go check out The Vegan Society’s Vegan and Thriving page for lots of recipe ideas.”
According to a new survey for The Vegan Society, the link between plant-based and fitness extends far beyond the Olympic stadium.
500 people, who have gone vegan in the last five years were asked about their fitness activities, changes to health and influences for making the switch.
Nighty-eight per cent of respondents said they take part in a physical activity at least once a week. Walking is the number one activity, with 69% saying they enjoy walking long distance, hiking or just taking the dog out while jogging and running also proved popular. Within this group, 62% said they do it at least once a week.
Fifty-three percent said they go swimming, whilst a similar number (52%) enjoyed regular cycling and almost three-quarters (43%) enjoying HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or other cardio. Other most popular sports included yoga or Pilates (42%), basketball and football (41%), weightlifting (33%), combat sport (30%) and dancing (30%).
Those participants who said they’ve gone vegan in the last five years were also asked about improvements to their health. The results are highly encouraging. While 56% said they’d seen an improvement to their digestion, 55% feel their sleep has improved and 53% feel like they have more energy. Fitness levels have also improved with more than half (52%) stating they are able to walk and/or run better and/or further. Interestingly, 34% said they had a shorter recovery time between their chosen exercise sessions, and 31% said they were able to lift heavier weights.
Among the primary motivations for people adopting a vegan diet are animals, personal health, and the environment. Forty-six per cent of respondents went vegan to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables, 44% wanted to improve digestion and reduce bloating and 41% wanted to increase their energy levels. Thirty-nine percent went vegan to reduce their risk of developing a specific illness such as diabetes – with more men (47%) than women (32%) stating this as an influence. Thirty-eight percent of men and 22% of women said a GP or health care professional recommended the vegan diet.
One third (32%) of vegan athletes said they switched to a plant-based diet because they were influenced by sports champions like Lewis Hamilton, Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams.