Green Your Workout

Parkour is an intense, eco-friendly workout. Not for the faint of heart!

As Earth Day approaches I always get inspired to be a little greener.  I’ll clean out my closets and donate items or switch out something with chemicals for an eco-friendly version.  I’m pretty far down the greenie spectrum these days but one of the areas that is tougher to change than others is your workout.  How can how you choose to exercise jibe with your healthy planet beliefs?

Think About Your Workout Gear

There are over two and half pounds of pesticides in each cotton T shirt in your closet.  Even worse, organic cotton produced overseas and imported as bales into the U.S. get sprayed with pesticides upon entry to the country to make sure no foreign bugs get in, so you might not be as green as you think.   Try to wear your clothes as long as possible and when you need to replace them purchase from eco-minded companies like Patagonia and ALO.  They have great clothes with the technical needs you require for your sport.

Think About Your Sneakers

If you’re a runner, you might be going through three or four pairs of sneakers per year.  Even if you’re not a runner you might have several pairs in your closet for different sports or just for fashion.  Make sure you’re getting the “right use” out of your kicks.  Don’t buy a new pair before you need to, but don’t wait too long so that you have a broken down shoe and are prone to injuries.  Recycle your sneakers; Nike for instance has a recycling program that turns old sneakers into playgrounds for kids.  Try sneakers with recycled components in them as well; New Balance and Nike both have programs for this so just ask your local retailer for the information.

Think About Your Workout

Do you have to slog away on the dreadmill when there’s a perfectly good trail nearby?  Do you need to be on a recumbent bike when the group ex bikes are right there and don’t require electricity?  Hiking in a local park, paddling down the river in a kayak, a bootcamp class; all you need for these and a host of other activities is sunshine and your body.  Think about substitutions to your normal workout regimen that are greener.  Sometimes they’ll be a lot greener!

As a Pilates instructor I’m lucky.  Our equipment is made from steel and wood.  It has a very long life (I have some machines that are 12 years old and still working great!) and there’s no electricity needed, just our clients’ body weight.  I’ve made a lot of additional changes to our studio to make it even greener.  We use organic bamboo cloths to clean the equipment and our cleanser is an organic citrus-based one.

Ask your gym what they do that’s eco-friendly and I’ll bet you’ll be surprised to hear the answer is almost nothing.  They run washers and dryers all day for the towels, use chemicals to kill off germs on the gym floor and in the locker rooms, and have the TVs and lights running all day long, even when they’re not needed.  Consider giving them a nudge to be a little greener.

We spend a lot of time trying to be healthier.  We should put a little effort into making our planet healthier too.

Cheers,

Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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3 Responses to Green Your Workout

  1. Tara Burner April 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    my yoga mat is eco-friendly
    i try to wear mostly organic cotton clothing
    i am guilty of using my bike inside pretty much every day because of time constraints but do run outside
    i’d love to be able to open a totally green gym (one dream I have)
    have seen a few where they actually harness the power from bikes, equipment to have the power to function, etc…
    bamboo flooring, etc.
    hmmmm wonder if there’s a market for a green yoga studio/fitness center in St. Augustine in about 3 1/2 yrs?

  2. Amanda @ 36broadway June 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Greetings from Braintree!
    These are great ideas and I need to get better at ‘sweating green’. I’m a big workout video junkie, so I try to do my workouts on my Ipad instead of our big screen TV or computer. And I just bought my first eco-friendly organic workout tee and leggings, woohoo!
    I’d like to start recycling my sneaks, where do you go?

  3. Lisa Johnson June 22, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    Amanda, Nike takes all brands of sneakers (I think) and recycles them into playgrounds for kids … they usually have a bin right at the front of the store. L–

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