People go to the gym to get fit, reduce stress, and feel healthy. The last thing anyone has in mind while exercising is how to implement environmentally responsible practices at the gym. It's easy to forget your green goals when you leave the house, but being green at the gym isn't very difficult. Keep reading to see just how simple it is.
ENERGY SAVING GYM EQUIPMENT
Cardio machines such as the stationary bike and elliptical don't require external power supplies. If you workout for forty-five minutes on one of these machines instead of a treadmill or stair-climber, you'll be saving 0.8 kilowatt-hours of energy: the amount you'd burn if you ran seven miles! Another option is to eliminate the use of machinery altogether by running in place or jumping rope instead. Or, you could get your cardio workout before even setting foot in the gym: just walk, run, or bike there. But if you can't give up your treadmill or stair-climber, try suggesting to the manager that your gym replace its current equipment with self-powered versions.
Chlorine-based pools are linked to a wide range of adverse health effects, which is why more and more gyms and health clubs are choosing to install saltwater (saline) and solar-ionized pools. Not only will swimming in a salt- or ion-sterilized pool improve the environment, it will be better for your skin, eyes, hair, and lungs.
ENERGY RESPONSIBLE SAUNA/STEAMROOM
Even if your sauna has a timer to shut off automatically, you'll save 0.1 kilowatts of energy for every minute it's not running; so try to shut off the sauna when you're finished.
SAVE WATER AT THE SHOWER
If you shower before work in the morning and then again after you go to the gym in the evening, consider working out in the morning instead and showering only once. You'll be saving approximately two hundred gallons of water for each shower you eliminate and over the course of a year, you could save more than thirty thousand gallons. And don't forget to adopt Earth-friendly habits in your gym's locker room: avoid taking excessively long showers and leaving a dripping faucet. Learn other ways to reduce your water use.
BRING YOUR OWN TOWEL
Using the towels provided by your gym exposes you to harsh detergents, bleaches, and disinfectants. If you bring your own towel, however, you'll not only be saving water and energy, you'll be protecting your own health. If just 1 percent of all gym and fitness center members in the United States brought their own towels, it would save more than thirty-six million gallons of water each year.
REUSE YOUR WATER BOTTLE
One of the easiest ways to be green at the gym is to bring your own reusable water bottle. Not only will you be saving an average of $200 per year by not buying a new water bottle before each workout, you'll be saving 14 pounds of plastic and preserving one of our most limited resources. Remember to fill your reusable water bottle with filtered water from home instead of using the large plastic water coolers at the gym, as they are thought to contain BPA.
GREEN YOUR CLOTHING
If you've read our article School Shopping – Create a Green Student Part 2, you already know that it takes a third of a pound of pesticides and fertilizers to produce enough cotton for just one T-shirt. And that buying organic clothing reduces pollution, saves energy and water, and helps reduce landfills. But replacing your entire wardrobe with eco-friendly clothes isn't for beginners. So why not start small and just replace some of the items in your workout wardrobe? A hemp t-shirt here, a pair of organic cotton shorts there, maybe even a pair of non-synthetic shoes, and in no time you're being green every time you workout.
NATURAL YOGA MATS
Avoid yoga mats made from petroleum-derived plastics or synthetics and opt instead for those made from plant-based materials such as natural rubber, jute, or cotton. If every yoga enthusiast avoided mats containing environmentally toxic PVC, they would collectively prevent the production and landfilling of 46.2 million pounds of PVC plastic.