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.