We’ve talked about the benefits of going to the gym as a way to get satisfied while being healthy and focusing on your personal improvement. But going to the gym can feel like it’s a waste of resources, especially if yours is far away or if you’re going by yourself. More and more fitness companies are starting to make environmentally-friendly fitness gear that are made from natural or recycled materials that can make sure your workout doesn’t work out Mother Nature’s splendor. While many gyms around the country are going green, the reality is that your local workout spot won’t necessarily be keeping the earth in mind (at least, not right now). So what can you do to reduce your carbon footprint while getting in shape and being healthy? Quite a bit, it turns out!
Walk, Bike, Carpool, or Hit the Park
Once you have the motivation to hit the gym, getting there is one of the easiest ways to start reducing your footprint. Depending on the weather, instead of hopping in your car to get to the gym, you can do a whole bunch of those eco-friendly things to get there. If you have it in your budget, a bike will give you a little warm-up before you hit the gym (and going to the gym is another great excuse to budget out for one!) while cutting down on pollution emissions. Of course, walking is also a good warm-up anytime you’re going anywhere. If you’ve got workout partners and the gym is too far away to walk or bike, carpool with your friends! Not only will you have workout accountability buddies, you’ll also have your friends there with you to cheer you on as you hit your fitness goals.
The best way to reduce your fitness footprint (and save on your monthly bills) is to bike or walk to the park and do your workouts there. Obviously, depending on where you live, your climate might not make this the best idea throughout the year. But if you live in a place where the weather makes it easy to hit your local park’s trails, definitely take advantage of it. Looking at trees and grass is better than a packed, sweaty gym!
Budget for Eco-Friendly Gear
Going to the gym means you’re going to be sweating up a storm, and there are more and more companies making fitness gear out of natural, organic materials that are also made for working out. And there are even shoes that are embracing the recycling/upcycling aesthetic – in fact, New Balance makes a workout shoe that uses less material while also being partly made from recycled PET water bottles. Of course, if you aren’t a fan of New Balance, there are a plethora of eco-friendly fitness shoes on the market – a little research goes a long way!
And it’s not just the clothes you wear – it’s also what other products you use during workouts that can be eco-friendly. Of course, using a water bottle that’s BPA-free is healthier for you as well as the environment. If you take yoga classes, there are a number of yoga mats that are durable and made from natural tree rubber sourced from sustainable forests that aren’t Amazonian. They also are free of PVC and other toxic plasticizers, making them truly biodegradable.
Is it too snowy or too hot outside? Supplement your workouts by doing one at home – the Internet is a treasure trove of videos and webpages dedicated to flexibility, weight training, and yoga routines that you can do at home.
Start an Eco-Friendly Diet
What you put in your body is just as important as exercise when it comes to having a healthy, green lifestyle. Buying local, organic, pesticide-free food is the first step when it comes to a healthier menu. If you’re just starting out, try going meatless for one full meal. Once you get used to that, try going meatless one day a week. (You may be familiar with the hashtag #MeatlessMonday from eco-friendly folks encouraging their friends to try going veggie once a week.) With all the organic nutrients your body gets, it will thank you for it in the long run! And the best hydrator after a good workout is always cold water, filtered from the tap in your BPA-free water bottle. It beats the wasteful plastic of sports drinks any day of the week!
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