For those of us that choose to live a greener life, environmental sustainability is always at the forefront of our minds. Whether we’re choosing a new car, picking out a new computer or simply buying light bulbs – there’s always a greener option out there if we look for it. With 2013 resolutions prompting many of us to get fit, it only makes sense that our workouts take on a similar shade of guilt-free green. Forget making carbon footprints on your gym’s treadmill, and instead look to the great outdoor spaces in your area for exercise – they’re free, full of fresh air and as green as you’re going to get! What’s more, the benefits are fantastic and might well surprise you.
Let’s go outside
With obesity levels still on the rise, efforts to slim down society have been somewhat fruitless. For the sensible amongst us (or at least for those of us with slower metabolisms!) getting our recommended half-hour daily exercise has become common place within our lives; with many of us joining gyms, purchasing exercise equipment and eating within the recommended guidelines. However, with few ‘green gyms’ around, it can sometimes feel that one has to temporarily put the health of the planet aside whilst focusing on their own. Neon signs, power-consuming equipment, and more unused computers and televisions whirring away than you can shake a dumbbell at – it’s not the most inspiring environment for someone with green credentials.
Thankfully, there’s a whole lot of gym outside. The great outdoors offers substantially more when it comes to well being than anything you might find in a state of the art facility. Perhaps the first thing you’ll appreciate is the fresh air, which alone makes it more appealing than any body-odor-scented gym! Multiple studies have also concluded that those who pursue outdoor activities in a green environment (be this sport, exercise or otherwise) often experience a substantial boost in both mood and self-esteem – making it as beneficial for your mental well being as it is for your physical health. What’s more, when this is paired with the natural endorphins exercise provides, it makes for an especially feel good combination. If that wasn’t reason enough though, then the simple pleasure of being outdoors should be. Why run on a machine looking at a blank wall or television, when you could go for a real run along a local scenic route? The entire process of exercise, from warming up to the post workout recovery is all the more pleasant when enjoyed in a beautiful natural environment, countering the motivation sapping monotony that so many regular gym-goers have to endure.
Let’s work it out
It doesn’t have to be all about running. From outdoor gyms to a wide selection of leisure and sporting activities you can participate in, there are literally countless zero-energy options for someone who values a greener life. Whether its cardio workouts, cycling, tennis or even gardening – there’s something there for every age and ability. If you find yourself needing to purchase new equipment for your chosen activities, then sustainable sportswear and equipment is relatively easy to source online, with big names like Adidas getting in on the action and creating a line of sports garb made with recycled and organic materials. For those who prefer to work out in the comfort of their own home however (or just in the colder months), there are plenty of workout regimes and equipment (sans plug-in!) suitable for indoors. Stationary exercise bikes are a popular choice, especially when fitted with a generator. These clever little gadgets are easy to come by and install, allowing you to create energy as you burn yours. Consequently, it’s the perfect way for charging your mp3 player if you do decide to go for a run!
Your boots ARE made for walkin’!
For those who aren’t exactly fitness fanatics but are still looking implement a light dose of green exercise into their lifestyles, then the easiest method to do so is the first thing all environment-conscious folk did when they realised their responsibility to the planet: Start walking instead! It’s a much reiterated two-birds-one-stone deal – but it only makes sense. Cut back on your carbon footprint and improve your fitness whilst going about your normal life – what’s not to love? Whatever the destination, be it work, a grocery store, college, or a friends house – if it’s within walking distance, leave the car on the drive and soldier on by foot. If your destination is slightly further away and it’s safe to do so, you can always cycle instead. For such a simple solution that benefits both yourself and the planet, it’s unusual that we live in a world where someone will drive to a gym, and use an electric exercise bike instead.
A little bit of green
With the emergence and steady growth of the ‘green gym’, it’s certainly proof that we’re beginning to look at every single area of our lives when it comes to sustainability and are welcoming change. For those of us that don’t yet have access to a green gym, it only makes sense to go about fitness in our own green way – and with the average treadmill giving off 2 pounds of CO2 per 30 minute workout, it’s a no brainer for those of us who believe that every little matters.