Going green: Tips for eco-friendly exercise

September 2009
Whether you’re training for a marathon or just trying to shed a few extra pounds, this month’s tips will help you go green while getting fit.

Get outside. On a nice day, instead of hitting the gym take your workout outdoors. The only energy required is yours. Walking, hiking, biking and jogging are all great cardiovascular activities. Along the way, stop to strength train by using your body weight for resistance with lunges, squats, push-ups, pull-ups, dips and step-ups.

Not only will you get a great workout, you’ll also have lots of fun connecting with the natural world and your community. You can go it alone, enlist a workout partner or even start a workout group in your neighborhood.

  • Walk or bike to work, to the gym, to school, etc.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Weed your garden.
  • Go for a hike. Pick up trash along the way.
  • Take your dog for a long walk. Use biodegradable bags to pick up after them.
  • Chase your kids around the yard.
  • Join a group that clears trails in local hiking areas.

Unplug. If outdoor exercise is not an option, try using equipment that requires you to generate the power. Some examples: dumbbells, tubing, kettle bells, jump ropes and self-powered cardio machines such as spinning bikes and rowing machines.

  • Buy used exercise equipment on Craigs List.
  • Give the power generated treadmill or stair climber a break. Run up and down the steps in your home or office.

Dress the part. When choosing your workout clothes and accessories, consider those made of organic cotton, bamboo or other natural fibers — even coconut shells! You could also look for clothes and shoes made of recycled materials, such as sneakers with recycled rubber soles.

You also can shop for eco-friendly fitness products such as yoga mats made of natural rubber and yoga mat bags made of hemp.

When you’ve worn out your clothes, recycle them. Patagonia has a program that allows you to recycle old workout clothes and turn them into new ones. Nike has a recycling program that turns old sneakers into basketball courts, running tracks and playgrounds.

  • Use a reusable water bottle.
  • Buy workout clothes made in the USA

Don’t forget to fuel your body with local and organic foods before you exercise, and have fun!