Being eco-conscious may not be at the top of your mind as you set off for the gym, but this month, try celebrating Earth Day by thinking about some of your workout-related choices. Getting your fitness on shouldn’t mean that the Earth takes one for the team. Because we’re all on the same team. Team Planet.
It’s easy to keep Mother Earth happy while you still get the sweat sesh you want. And since a happy planet means a happy you, these tips will have you whistling while you work (out) in no time.
A few ways you can be fit and be eco-conscious:
- Buy a yoga mat made of recycled materials
- Donate your old sneakers
- Check out a green gym
- Go outside
It used to be difficult to find a yoga mat that wasn’t made of PVC and other harmful elements like lead and cadmium. But now there are plenty of eco-friendly options, including mats made from recycled tires, natural rubber, cotton or other plant fibers. For yogis who prefer a stickier mat (some complain that natural mats are slippery), go for a highly textured mat or try one made of recycled neoprene wetsuits.
Runners are encouraged to replace their shoes about every six months or 400 miles. But let’s face it: sometimes you just want another snazzy pair of athletic kicks. Don’t feel guilty, but don’t be wasteful either. Instead of thinking sole-ly of the dumpster, find a new home for your shoes by donating them to a nonprofit like Soles4Souls or Give Your Sole. Or check out Nike Reuse-a-Shoe, which pulverizes worn-out athletic shoes into Nike Grind, a material then used to create new surfaces and products.
Have you ever looked around the gym and wondered if we could turn all of the human, kinetic energy into electricity? Some gyms are already doing this, and more. Look out for electricity-generating equipment, sustainable flooring, as well as eco-friendly business practices like going paperless and using green cleaning products. Your studio might be doing more than you know. Find out what strides they’re taking to help the planet, and see how you can do your part.
Not only does exercising in fresh air lift your mood and provide Vitamin D, it’s also a great way to save resources. No TVs, no treadmills, no fluorescent lights—just you and Mother Nature. A run, hike or bike ride are always options, but try checking out an outdoor fitness group or boot camp, where all the equipment you need is at the park. When going green, don’t forget about blue. Workouts in the water are a fun way to mix it up, with a surfing or stand-up paddle boarding class. If you don’t live in a year-round sunny spot, many studios offer seasonal classes outdoors.
This year, celebrate Earth Day by boosting your health—and the health of the planet.