You’ve put in fluorescent bulbs. You recycle your plastic bottles. You even considered (or bought!) a hybrid car. But how eco-friendly is your workout? Here’s our top 10 ways to green your exercise routine.
Throw on eco-friendly threads.
Organic cotton is breathable, absorbent and available in everything from sports bras to socks. Try Patagonia’s organic cotton and recycled polyester Vitali-tee. Add Gaiam’s ActiveSoy track jacket or a pair of soft bamboo yoga pants for a full green ensemble.
Green up your downward dog with a biodegradable yoga mat. Try Plank yoga design shop’s new EcoLITE collection (pictured above) with fun life-like photos. The “Plank” features a half-eaten blueberry muffin—a reminder to reward yourself for being good to the environment.
Make your own energy bars.
Dump wasteful packaging and worrying food additives, and save a little money. Fuel up with homemade recipes from Matisse and Jacks. Do the same with sports drinks by buying in bulk or mixing them yourself.
More than 60 million disposable bottles end up in trash heaps every day. Help cut down on that enormous pile of plastic by re-using. Klean Kanteen’s stainless steel water bottle with insulated sleeve ensures safe, cold hydration.
Reduce your carbon footprint by making a few of your own.
Instead of driving to the gym, run or walk there for a great (cheap) warm-up. If the gym’s too far, try biking or carpooling. Keep your workout clothes in the car to cut down on extra
stops and gas.
Take it to the streets.
What’s more green than the great outdoors? With hills and wind providing resistance running and walking on the road can burn more calories than a treadmill. Other activities such as kayaking, hiking and rock climbing can help fend off workout boredom.
Choose your equipment carefully.
Treadmills are gas guzzlers, says Green Microgym owner Adam Boesel. His clients in Seattle put their pedal power to use on elliptical machines or stationary bikes that generate power for radios and DVD players.
L.A. health coach Tanja Djelevic often goes unplugged with her celebrity clients. She says a balance ball, resistance band and glider plates can give you an excellent all-around workout—and you can take them anywhere. Plus, using your body instead of a machine for resistance is oh-so green.
Big gyms, especially those open 24 hours a day, are big consumers. Turn off TV’s that aren’t in use, bring your own towel to reduce laundry and ask the gym to install low-flow showerheads and energy conserving lights.
Recycle—it’s good for your soles.
As the miles add up, so does the wear on your favorite cross-trainers. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe initiative repurposes worn-out athletic shoes of any brand into sports courts, tracks and flooring—250 since 1993. Find drop-off locations.