While we are getting increasingly health-conscious, our planet is suffering from a variety of maladies. Many people are so intent to get their bodies into shape, they fail to see that Earth is getting very much out of shape. In other words: our actions have series repercussions! Fortunately, we have the chance to adopt sustainable habits for our day-to-day exercise routines. Here are some tips how to achieve an eco-friendly workout that won't harm our planet:
1. Buy Only Reusable Water Bottles and Recycle Snack Packaging
Americans throw away an estimated 60 million plastic water bottles every single day! Buy reusable water bottles or steel bottles you can refill at a fountain or a tap. The latter is on average several hundred times cheaper: you pay only a few tenths of a cent per gallon compared to bottled water. Eating snacks before a workout is a good way to top up on fuel before aiming for one's personal fitness goals. Multilayered wraps and films from snacks are usually not recyclable and will mostly be incinerated or thrown into landfills. At TerraCycle green-thinking athletes can find a selection of recycling programs for commonly difficult-to-recycle performance snack wrappers and packaging. Bear Naked granola pouches, Clif Bar and LARABAR wrappers can be recycled via free recycling platforms like the aforementioned, as can other GU Energy Lap produced packaging.
2. Walk or Cycle to the Gym
Choose a gym that's either close to home or your workplace to save on travelling time and gas. If you can take the bus, great. But why not make the trip to the gym part of your exercise routine? Cycle or walk with gym buddies from work or your immediate neighborhood. There's safety in numbers and you all get a good warm-up before arriving at the gym. There's less chance of you skiving, too, since gym buddies encourage each other.
3. Why Not Get a Solar-powered Fitness Tracker?
A fitness tracker allows fitness fans to keep track of every step they make, how many calories they've burned, and some even include sleep schedules. Now there are eco-friendly versions available. Misfit Wearables is marketing the first-ever solar-powered fitness tracker, the Swarovski Shine. The new collection's violet fitness tracker is powered by a large Swarovski "energy crystal" which doesn't just look pretty but acts as an efficient solar panel.
4. Choose Socially Responsible Athletic Clothing
Clothing and textiles are among the most eco-unfriendly mass-produced things on the planet. According to some estimates, it can take as many as 20,000 liters of water to grown cotton for a single T-shirt - that's before the carbon footprint is added to it! Clothing is often shipped over great distances to the end consumer. Choose athletic brands with proven track records of who made them under which circumstances and where. Think eco-friendly and socially responsible when buying your gym kit. The North Face and Patagonia are two great alternatives for eco-conscious athletes.
5. Embrace the Outdoors
Instead of exercising in a purpose-built gym that uses up electricity and heating, head to the great outdoors to cycle, walk, jog and climb or join a community sports league to get hot and bothered while improving your health and toning your body. Exercising outdoors may even prove to be more effective, as fresh air and sunlight intake are scientifically researched factors that increase energy and vitality naturally.
6. Contribute to the Municipal Grid with Your Choice of Gym Equipment
It may sound fantastic, but your workout produces kinetic energy that could be turned into usable electricity and fed back into the municipal grid. The Green Microgym in Oregon is showing fitness fans how this works in practice. Their stationary bikes, ellipticals and other gym equipment generate electricity while in use and feed the excess energy created back into the municipal grid. For frugal athletes who don't live in the Portland area, browse the Mycrogym's online store for products you can use at home to work out and generate electricity at the same time.
7. Are Your Favorite Sporting Events Eco-friendly?
Marathons, bike races and triathlons attract tens of thousands of competitors and as many spectators from around the glove. The carbon footprint from everybody's travel to and from the venue, the packaging from water bottles to performance snacks to burgers and beer wolfed down afterwards make these huge gatherings very eco-unfriendly. If you want to truly go green with your work-out, support marathon or other sports organizations that push for environmental accountability at their events. For example, the Austin, Boston and New York City marathons are going green with extensive sustainability and waste-reduction strategies. Visit the marathon's website and take a look at their green commitments before you sign up for the next event.
Is it important to you that you care for the environment and are looking after the planet while you’re looking after yourself?