Take care of your body while being mindful of planet earth. Lessen your impact on the environment by doing simple things like bringing a reusable water bottle to the gym, or actually forgoing the gym a couple days each week and all its energy-using amenities (air conditioning, the shower and steam room, not to mention fuel for driving there) in favor of an outdoor workout. Air conditioning requires a lot of electricity and most electricity is generated at coal-fired power plants, which contribute to the pollution in our atmosphere. Plastic water bottles are another major source of pollution since they have to be manufactured, shipped, and recycled or put into landfills. There are a number of ways you can “green” your workout. Check out our tips so you can get your cardio on while being kind to the planet.
- Walk! Walking is a great calorie burner and you can do it no matter your fitness level since it’s low impact. Bring your spouse and kids for a screen-free family bonding experience. Not only will you be burning calories, but you’ll be able to chat and catch-up on everyone’s day. Organize an after-work walking group with friends, or use your lunch break to take a walk and get some fresh air. Walk with your kids to school instead of driving. Walking is also a great way to run errands without using fuel. If possible, walk to your local farmer’s market on weekends to pick-up a bag of produce, or walk to your local café to meet friends instead of driving. Walking is really a win-win activity for your body and our planet.
- Help “green” your gym. If you are a member of a gym or health club, make sure they have recycling bins for plastic water bottles so guests do not have to throw disposable bottles into the trash. If not, ask management to add recycling bins, but better yet, perhaps you could suggest to management to sell or provide reusable bottles to members. Also, inquire with management about the type of cleaning products they use. Especially since you’re breathing deeply while you workout, you don’t want to be inhaling any potentially harmful chemicals from cleaning products. And when you hit the gym to workout, take a cardio class as opposed to hopping on an energy-consuming machine like a treadmill, which can use three or four times more electricity than a 46-inch LCD TV.
- Bring a reusable bottle to the gym. This one seems pretty obvious, but this simple change can help to reduce the waste in landfills since most plastic water bottles are not recycled. And even when they are recycled, plastic water bottles take about 700 years before they begin to compost!
- Wear eco-friendly workout gear. While it may not be possible to buy every piece of workout gear from an eco-friendly company, there are a number of eco options available for both clothes and shoes. Search for items made with organic and sustainable materials. Or buy gently used items on eBay.
- Recycle or donate your old shoes and gear. You can donate shoes to Nike’s Reuse A Shoe program where old shoes are made into things like courts and tracks. There’s also Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that donates new and used shoes to people in underdeveloped countries. And OneWorldRunning, which provides shoes to people in need in the U.S. and abroad. If you have any old items from Patagonia, you can send them back to the company to get recycled or drop them off at a nearby location.
How do you keep your workouts eco-friendly? Tell us in the comments!