We like to think that fitness is inherently environmentally friendly. After all, cycling is infinitely better than driving a car, even when that car is electric. Hiking is the “greenest” way to reach the top of a mountain and what bad could running possibly do to the environment?
As it turns out, some fitness habits aren’t all that gentle on the planet. In celebration of Earth Day, these tips to more eco-friendly fitness routines are a good reminder that we can always improve.
1 Buy sustainable fitness gear. From Burton’s line of recycled plastic clothing and gear to Patagonia’s sustainable production and 1 percent pledge for the planet, there is plenty of opportunity to buy fitness gear that will help support a healthier environment.
2 Recycle your old gear. Whether you need to make room for the latest gear or your stuff has simply seen better days, getting rid of it the right way can give your old apparel new life. Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program creatively reuses your old kicks, turning them into new playgrounds, fields and tracks. If your sneakers aren’t worn down yet, donate them to Soles4Souls, a non-profit that has donated more than 19 million pairs of shoes to people in 127 countries.
3 Get outside for your workout. It’s easy to forget that the drive to the gym is burning fuel and many of the machines in the gym eat up electricity, but the simple solution is to use the great outdoors. Swap the trip to the gym and the miles on the treadmill for a run around your neighborhood, the scenery is better anyway.
4 Ditch the disposable water bottle. We know there are at least a dozen things wrong with bottled water: the cost, the astounding amount of energy used in making the bottle and the sheer number of decomposing bottles in landfills, the list goes on. Get a reusable bottle and fill up for free without the guilty conscience.
5 Start a garden. Growing your own food is not only good for the environment (saving on fossil fuels during transport), it also burns calories. Yard work typically burns 200-300 calories per hour and the more time spent outside, the better.
6 Consider commuting by bike. We know bikes are better than cars when it comes to
everything the environment. And while bike commuting might not be a feasible option for everyone, those who are able to make the trip should think about bike commuting, even if it’s only once or twice a week.