As the population becomes more environmentally conscious, we are seeking ways to make their exercise routine more eco-friendly without dependency on massive amounts of energy or shiny manufactured equipment.
Inside the gym
If you’re a gym-lover, be sure to look for one with eco-friendly qualities, bring a reusable water bottle, and set the treadmill to a higher incline so it uses less energy. Some gyms have linked into the power system grid with their stationary bicycles and actually put pedal-power to great use! But what if you’re looking to reduce your personal carbon footprint a bit more?
Could it be any easier than bringing your workout outdoors?
Some exercises just feel better outside — bicycling or running are great examples — especially when the alternative is a cold and lonely cardio machine.
Exchange your treadmill television-watching for 45 minutes of taking a pedal around your neighborhood and you’ll love how that fresh air feels, circulating around your body.
If you’re not a runner, or don’t have a bike, just go for a brisk walk.
It’s low-impact but increases your heart rate, and it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends without consuming extra calories during a happy hour stint. Add a daily walk to your lunch hour, carpool to the grocery store, ride your bike to work, take up hiking or gardening — any of these activities can have you feeling fit and toned without the investment of a gym.
What clothing is best for green workouts?
You want pieces that won’t leave you soaking in sweat — which means moisture-wicking fabrics that help wetness evaporate quickly. You also don’t want tops or pants that are too baggy or loose; they let sweat collect on your skin. Organic cotton isn’t as good at moisture-wicking as bamboo, but the processing is more environmentally-friendly; the best fabrics are man-made and have synthetic qualities. Great base layers from brands like Smartwool and Patagonia are available locally or online.
In Michigan, outdoor exercise can be challenging during the winter months, but “EcoTrekkers” have been doing it for more than five years. Year ‘round, groups of EcoTrek Fitness enthusiasts (and even some people fresh-off-the-couch, who would never call themselves “exercise lovers”) find their groove outdoors, exercising on trails, and even using trees, park benches and rocks in their workout routine.
Cari Draft is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer who makes “house calls” and is also the owner & founder of EcoTrek Fitness, the original outdoor group workouts in West Michigan!