You know that your exercise regime is good for you, but is it good for the environment?

Consider a typical gym member.

The exercise starts with a drive to the gym, obviously consuming energy and creating pollution.

The gym is frequently an air-conditioned environment with plasma screens playing and loud music pumping. More energy expenditure.

Then we get on to the equipment itself. Next time you are on a piece of cardio equipment, check out the electrical cord running to an outlet. Many pieces of cardio equipment such as treadmills, steppers and bikes have electrically powered resistance units as well as electronic displays.

After the gym the car then carries you back home, consuming all the way.

So what is the alternative? Well, you can try to be environmentally fit:

  1. Exercise locally. Use your own energy by walking or cycling to your place of exercise. This has the obvious added benefit of of extending your workout at the beginning and the end, or providing a great active warm up.
  2. Get outdoors. No TVs, no air-conditioning, therefore no excess energy expenditure. Easy. Or find a studio or gym that uses environmentally friendly methods for maintaining a comfortable temperature.
  3. Choose your equipment. Avoid anything with an electrical cord. Run and ride outside, shuttle runs, hills, plyometrics for variety.
  4. Increase your “incidental activity”. Some very simple changes to everyday habits can benefit both your body and the planet. Take the steps instead of the lift. Walk or ride to the shops. Or if you need to drive, instead of driving around looking for the closest park, drive into a spot a distance away and walk from there. If you’d like further information on how to be more environmentally fit by increasing your incidental activity, you can read more here.
  5. Eat more vegetarian meals. Meat production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas pollution, according to some reports greater than emissions from transport! Vegetarian meals also tend to be closer to the ideal balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats than a typical western meat based diet.
  6. Make ethical food choices. Take the time to find out where your food comes from and how it’s produced. Being more environmentally could mean buying more Fair Trade products or attempting to shop locally. If you’d like to know more about this point, please see here.