January 3rd, 2011

8 Tips to Green Your Gym Routine

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Is a gym membership in your future for 2011? Or maybe you’re already a dedicated gym rat?  Whether your membership is an obligatory New Year’s resolution or already a daily obsession, try these simple green practices you can incorporate into your gym workout to reduce your carbon footprint and help the planet.

  1. Use a reusable water bottle. Break your disposable bottle water habit and switch to a reusable water bottle.   Breaking the plastic disposable bottled water habit reduces the use of fossil fuels and toxic greenhouse gases that come from manufacturing plastic bottles.  By using a reusable water bottle you are also helping reduce the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills, sitting for years while they try unsuccessfully to decompose.  I am hooked on Klean Kanteen.
  2. Carry your gym gear in an eco-friendly gym bag.
  3. Don’t use plastic bags for your sweaty gym gear. My gym offers plastic bags to carry my sweaty work out gear home.  In 2011 I am going to try to BYORB (bring your own reusable bag) for that sweaty work out gear.  You’ve heard me say it over and over. plastic bags are bad, bad, bad.
  4. Gear up in green ware. Replacing your entire workout wardrobe with eco-friendly duds isn’t realistic.  As you need to replace old, worn out tops, bottoms  and shoes think organic, hemp or non-synthetic.  Buying organic clothing reduces pollution, saves energy and water, and helps reduce the amount of  junk added to landfills.  When buying new, look for companies with sustainable business practices like REI and Patagonia.
  5. Join a human powered gym. More gyms are using specially designed equipment to capture the energy you create while sweating and pedaling, turning it into useful electricity. Last year The Green Microgym opened in Portland, Oregon and has been able to reduce its carbon emissions by 60%.
  6. Mix it up and use the great outdoors. On a beautiful day don’t waste the energy required to run a treadmill or stationery bike when the whole world is at your finger tips.  Go for a run, bike ride or walk and breath in the fresh air.

    Photo used under Creative Commons from Colin Davis

  7. Bring your own towel. I have to admit, I love the towel service at my gym.  There is nothing like walking in, taking as many towels as you need and then conveniently dumping them in a bin on the way out.  However, many times the towels are washed in  harsh detergents, bleaches, and disinfectants. Bring your own towel and you will be saving water and protecting yourself from potential toxins. This one will be a tough one for me to give up.
  8. Advocate for the use of green products at your gym. My gym has an entire page on their website dedicated to environmental sensitivity, outlining all the green initiatives they have implemented. Check in with your gym-what are their green plans?
  • Do they recycle?
  • Do they use CFL or LED bulbs?
  • Do their televisions automatically turn off when not in use?
  • Do they use natural cleaning products?
  • Are toxin-free soaps available for use in the showers?
  • Do they use chemical free detergents to wash the towels?
  • Have they installed water-conserving shower heads or filters on their shower heads?

Here’s to healthy beginnings in 2011.  Happy New Year.

Disclosure: If you buy any of the items in this post through one of the Amazon links  it will put a few pennies in my pocket-no pressure!

*Top photo used under Creative Commons from Neeta Lind

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