Be Green in Your Fitness Activities

It's Easier Than You Think

Spin ClassCredit: wikipedia commons public domain -

Green fitness ideas are those types of fitness practices which fit into an eco-friendly lifestyle.  We all do things that leave a heavy carbon footprint.  Although we do things which are not helpful for the environment, many of us try to be as thoughtful as possible in our everyday life with respect to the environment.  Given that we all view fitness as a clean body activity, what things can we do to assure that our fitness activities are as clean as possible toward the environment?

Be Mindful of Your Hydration

Bottled Water Production

Many of us drink bottled water by the gallon.  I swill the stuff on an hourly basis, particularly after a hard workout.  I am definitely a heavy sweater and I live in Florida, so most of my outdoor workouts generate a need for more hydration.  The sweat just pours out of me. 

Bottled water is actually quite wasteful in terms of energy consumed.  The plastic in the bottles is petroleum based.  The total amount of petroleum used in producing the bottles is 17 million barrels of oil on an annual basis.[1]  In addition, the bottled water needs to be transported from its bottling source to the retail outlets around the country.  Adding in transportation more than doubles the carbon energy usage for the bottled water we all drink.[2]  As you can see, bottled water is very large consumer of carbon energy.  While we may help our bodies with a good workout, consuming bottled water during the workout and afterward is not necessarily environment friendly.

Home Filtration

We all have tap water available from our homes.  While there may be fluoride and other
A tap water filterCredit: wikipdedia commons public domain - Amraepowelladditives which don’t maximize our health, we can adopt some simple strategies to make the tap water more healthful and still protect the environment.  One thing to do is to buy a filter for your tap water.  You can get a cheap filter which is installed directly on the tap itself.  These have the benefit of being the easiest to install.  Even simpler is a water filter that is filled into a pitcher or another container.  A better filtration system is a reverse osmosis system.  These are installed in the bottom of your kitchen sink cabinet.  They are not completely simple to install, but I am definitely not the most DIY oriented person and I’ve installed them myself.  I have to admit to some swearing, yet the job from beginning to end was a little over an hour.

If you are concerned about losing minerals from filtered water, you can buy a mineral supplement to allow your body to be replenished with minerals depleted from your exercise routine.  Most spring water has some mineral content and your body craves these minerals.  Using a mineral supplement will benefit your body.

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Water Container

To avoid plastics and BPA health concerns, use a metal bottle for your workout water.  It’s not as heavy as glass and you can reuse it for each workout.  You can use your filtered water, then add some minerals in your steel bottle. 

Go Outside

Possibly the best thing you can do for a green workout is to go outside.  You don’t need heating or air conditioning when your outdoors.  You can even soak up some Vitamin D producing sunshine when you’re out during a sunny day.  When you’re outdoors, you don’t have to be concerned with house dust or cleaning up any kind of indoor sweaty mess.  An outdoor run workout is the simplest of all activities.  The same holds true for hiking and riding your bike.  Enjoying a trailCredit: wikipedia commons public domain - vastateparksstaff fact, you can carry the green idea one step further by hiking on a dirt path instead of pavement.  Trail running is even better.  You might even commune with nature while you’re getting some exercise.

Use Self Power Instead of Electric

If you have to exercise indoors due to weather or other factors such as child care, then you can check out exercise bikes and treadmills that use people power instead of electric.  Exercise bikes are easiest without electric power.  All they need is a means to make peddling more difficult than a free peddle and all indoor bikes can do that.  Although not as common, treadmills are available which don’t use electric power.  One such product is the Woodway EcoMill.  This product uses battery power to display settings to keep track of your workout, but the batteries are recharged by your running.[3]  Further, you can plug into a USB port with your cell or iPad and use your own power to keep them running.  What could be cooler than watching a show on Netfilix powered by you?  That’s eco-friendly and fun.

Ride Your Bike to the Gym

Even if you’re still going to the gym, you can still commute there on your bike, or even run if it’s close enough.  You can achieve workout benefits on the way to the gym and benefit the environment by leaving your car in the driveway.  I live close enough to the gym that I sometimes ride my bike to get there as my warmup.

Wear Green Exercise Gear

Many types of green exercise gear are available.  Start from the bottom.  You can buy exercise shoes made out of recycled materials.  Those don’t use any many hydrocarbons to produce the
KayakingCredit: BoomerBillsoles because the materials for the soles already exist and are used over again for your shoes. As you work your way up, try to stick with cotton and soy reliant fabrics instead of synthetics that use more hydrocarbons to produce.  While straying from natural fibers, Nike even offers workout clothing made from recycled water bottles.  If you aren’t going to wear natural fibers, you might as well benefit the environment with some clothing made from recycled materials.

Do a Run for a Cause

Environment supportive 5k or 10k races are organized in most major cities throughout the year.  Be mindful of the charities you are supporting in your runs.  Some are environment friendly, so you are being green as you run.  Just don’t bring a plastic water bottle to the race!

The most important adaption for green fitness is your mindset.  What green ideas can I adopt as part of my weekly fitness routines?  You’d be surprised once you start to think about it.  Go green in your fitness routines.

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