Working out takes a lot of energy – and not just the physical kind. You probably haven’t given much thought to the environmental impact of your workout — but the gear it takes to keep you comfortably, safely active can leave a surprisingly pudgy environmental footprint.
Slim it down by making a few small changes to green your fitness routine. It’s one very real way you can make a difference. And just think — you’ll feel even better after you work out!
1. Grab a reusable water bottle
Americans drink more than 38 billion bottles of water per year, and almost 80 percent are NOT recycled, according to the Container Recycling Institute. That’s 2 million tons of recyclable plastic tossed in the landfill — and CRI says it takes the equivalent of 18 million barrels of crude oil to make that much new PET plastic. Aluminum water bottles are much more eco-friendly (and cost effective) — buy one bottle and reuse it over and over again. Pick a water bottle that’s BPA-free, and be sure to wash it thoroughly with hot soapy water between workouts.
2. Recycle your sneakers
Nike collects used sneakers through its Reuse-A-Shoe program (shoes can be dropped off at running stores and athletic retailers) and grinds up the soles into the surface for tracks. To date, more than 21 million pairs of athletic shoes have been recycled through the program — enough to create a chain of shoes that goes around the world almost four times.
3. Sport greener gear
When you shop for new workout wear, check out an organic cotton tank or a hoodie made from soy. Eco-friendlier fabrics feel good in more ways than one; they’re super-soft and comfy, and every tee saves the planet from about 1/3 pound of chemicals. If you want the wicking action of synthetics, try workout wear made from recycled polyester and coconut fibers.
If you do yoga or Pilates, make your next mat a green one: natural rubber and cork are among today’s wonderfully tactile and beautiful choices in earth-friendly yoga tools.
Pack up your outfit and gear in a bag made from recycled or eco-friendly materials like this groovy Everything Fits Gym Bag that’s a favorite at Shape magazine.