Whether you view exercising as a necessary evil or as one of life’s greatest pleasures, there’s no denying that it’s a life constant to be planning that next iron pumping session, booking that spin class or seeing if your favourite yoga instructor has a slot this week.
As hopefully you’ll be running, swimming or stretching until you physically can’t, making an effort to work out in an eco-friendly way can have a real, tangibly positive impact on the planet. Read on for ideas on how to become the most toned treehugger ever.
Save the planet and save your money
Trading just one session on a treadmill for a run outside in the sunshine saves around the amount of power needed to light 15 incandescent bulbs. Look into local initiatives such as community runs in your nearest park or trying out a hiking trail that’s close by, and you’ll be saving the planet and your pennies.
Install a person-powered generator
If you have a treadmill or stationary bike at home, consider investing in a device that can turn your hard work into electricity. You might not be able to heat your entire flat with it come winter, but just seeing how much effort it takes to create power might motivate you to be more careful switching lights off when you leave a room. And seeing how much electricity you can generate could motivate you not to skip your evening workout.
Choose a gym with green values
Let’s face it, as the weather can never quite be relied upon to be perpetually clement, it’s likely that occasionally you’ll want to head to a traditional indoor gym. Choose one that has values which match your own. 1Rebel in London, for instance, provides gym-goers with reusable metal water bottles rather than plastic ones. Research before you book a class will help you to offset your actions.
Every little bit helps
While you’re working out, do your best to limit the resources that you consume. Using only once towel to shower is a small thing, for instance, but consistently reducing your towel usage will over time reduce the amount of laundry the gym will need to do. You could also try setting your treadmill to a higher incline rather than at a faster speed, as it vastly reduces the amount of energy it uses.
Invest in sustainable workout gear
Avoid buying your workout clothes from fast fashion outlets and instead source your outfits from places that work with recycled and organic textiles and have fair employee practises.
Consider your shoes, also - Nike collects used trainers and turns them into a product that’s used as a surface for running tracks and playgrounds. Drop off your worn-out sneakers at their shops rather than just throwing them away.
Buy second hand
If exercising if a regular part of your life, you need equipment to facilitate that. What’s yoga without a mat, or cycling without a bike? Rather than buying new, give a pre-loved item a fresh home. Check websites such as Gumtree and Ebay for more affordable gear that would otherwise go to landfill, or consider buying consciously eco-friendly products such as non-PVC yoga mats and weights made of recycled materials.
Petition for change
Don’t ask, don’t get. Petition your gym to invest in more energy efficient equipment, email your local government enquiring about health initiatives and see if your friends are keen to exercise with you outside rather than at a non-sustainable gym. By making people aware of the possibility of working out in a green way, you’re helping to inspire change.
Words: Alice Johnson