Santa has come and gone – and we’ve all over-indulged, had more than our fill of family (whose presence may or may not have been appreciated) and we’ve had a little too much alcohol. After all of this, looms January – a month renowned for New Year’s resolutions. Approximately 37% of Americans who make resolutions will decide that this year, will be the year that they get fit and healthy (Nielsen). Whilst you’re planning on a whole new you for the New Year, take a moment to consider how your fresh fitness regime could be carbon-heavy without plenty of consideration. Think about it – that running machine? A real resource sapper (and not only of your own energy – but of plenty of electricity); and what about your brand new workout gear (that’s likely been shipped halfway around the world and undergone carbon-heavy manufacturing processes).
So, it’s time for a change – here’s how 2017 can be the year you finally get in shape, all whilst avoiding harming the health of our planet.
1. THAT plastic water bottle – replace it
You need water for exercise – without out, the risk of muscle damage or fainting is drastically increased. However, the average American goes through a staggering 167 disposable water bottles every year (whilst recycling only 38 [Ban the Bottle]). To switch from the throwaway bottle to something that could last a lifetime – such as an aluminum or polycarbonate bottle.
2. Go green with your fitness wear
Typically workout gear can be created from all sorts of carbon-heavy materials that demand intensive industrial processes such as dyeing, bleaching, and treating. Thankfully the demand for green clothes today stretches to include workout wear, with many manufacturers creating garments from organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, and soy. Brand names such as Patagonia, Lululemon, and Gaiam are the go-to clothing companies that are stepping up to the plate when it comes to sustainable fitness gear.
3. Don’t forget your feet – both your shoes and socks
When selecting your workout clothes don’t forget about your feet – whilst the majority of shoe manufacturers have today done away with the worst offending material of all – PVC, there are even better options out where the companies even carefully consider the amount and type of packaging that their shoes arrive in. Take Montrail as an example – these guys never bleach their boxes – and completely skip the unnecessary tissue that you’d usually find inside.
Additionally, you shouldn’t forget about your socks. Of all things, socks can seriously impact the planet, typically involving bleaching and demanding non-renewable resources, the average sock has much to answer for. An increasingly popular brand that focuses on planet-friendly socks is Teko – they manufacture socks from materials such as organic wool, cotton, and even corn!
4. Get back to nature with your workout regime
Going to the gym may be great for you – but the many implications for the planet are often completely overlooked. First of all – there’s the car journey back and forth; then there are the workout machines – with all but the weights relying on electricity; finally, there are the TVs, sound systems, and computers that all add to the massive carbon footprint for the average gym.
Whilst there is an increasing number of environmentally friendly gyms that are carbon-neutral, these remain few and far between. And whilst technology is being developed and deployed in very limited gym outlets to actually harness the energy produced by gym-goers – these are even further away. For the time being at least, the greenest way to get in shape remains to make the most of the great outdoors, as well as being inventive when it comes to weight resistance exercises.
So, take to the local park for your walk or run; make use of your staircase for step-ups and break out the tins to flex those biceps. You can also purchase from places such as eBay for second-hand goods that are given a second owner, rather than going to landfill.
5. Go green (literally)
Don’t overlook the tasks that can double up as great exercise and great for the environment – gardening is one such example, and can be even more effective at burning calories than the same time spent on a bike! If you decide to nurture a veg patch, you can even overhaul your grocery purchases for a lower household carbon footprint.
Another idea could be a community litter pick – a truly underappreciated task in terms of the good it can do for our wildlife.
6. Power your workout with tech (and power your tech with the sun)
Music has been proven to be capable of achieving a performance boost on almost the same level as legal performance-enhancing drugs. Now, you may understandably think that this tech is a real drain on the planet – and usually, you’d be right. However there are now solar chargers available for everything from your iPod to your Smartphone – handy, right? Start at EarthTechroducts.com if you’re unsure as to where to begin.
7. Choose to replace your gas-guzzling commute, with a green friendly workout
Catch the bus or train to work? Perhaps you drive-in? If your place of work is within running, walking, or cycling distance, you could kill two birds with one stone by replacing your commute with a workout (plus, all of that adrenaline that you whip up will see your working day whizz by – and the extra productivity may just get you a pay rise come this time next year!).
8. Forget supplements and pharmaceuticals – opt for nature’s answer
Forget about those supplements that have been flown halfway around the world – and don’t think that those cramps must be treated with tablets popped straight out of a blister pack. Treat muscle cramps with bananas and soothe soreness with cherries; if you’re hoping to bulk up your muscles, indulge in organic spinach, and go for free-range eggs which are simply packed full of muscle-building antioxidants.
Have you got any bright ideas for going green whilst getting fit? If we’ve missed something, or you have an exercise idea you simply must share with the world – let us know.
About the Author
Jen is your go-to guru for crafting a cozy, green cocoon. 🪴 Her dive into sustainable building wasn’t just about saving the planet—it started as a mission to make family movie nights eco-friendly (and to ensure the popcorn was the only thing getting heated!). With a knack for breaking down the jargon, Jen turns eco-lingo into everyday language. Swing by the Green Living blog for a mix of earth-loving advice and home improvement hacks. Whether you’re just dipping your toes into green waters or you’ve been swimming in the deep end of DIY projects, Jen’s here to guide, giggle, and remind you that every eco-choice is a step towards a planet that thanks you… and maybe even sends a rainbow your way! 🌈