3 Ways to Green Your Workout

Jodi Helmer by Jodi Helmer | February 20th, 2009 | 6 Comments
topic: Fitness, Green Living

Athletic Woman - StretchesWorking 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

stainless-steel-water-bottleAmericans 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 Reuse-a-Shoe programNike 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

activesoy-jacket-94-0657When 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.


  1. thanks for continuously reminding people about ecofriendly producrts and their usage.

    revathimacherla | February 22nd, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. Thank you! You forgot one ;-)

    All self propelled motion counts.

    Walk, jog, run, unicycle …. to work, errands, shopping or just for fun. Most of us have to go to work, or if retired you have errands, right?

    Add fun and fitness by making that time your workout.

    rae | February 25th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  3. Great advice on all counts! The most important part of staying properly hydrated is remembering to use that reusable water bottle all the time, not just when you’re working out or feeling parched.

    I prefer stainless steel for reusable water bottles myself, for a couple of reasons. No liner whatsoever is required for stainless steel, so there’s no need to worry about BPA in the first place, or wonder if the bottle’s still okay to use if some of the liner flaked off of a dent in the wall.

    Thanks for the post, it’s always good to see more folks using safe, eco-friendly stainless steel water bottles. Cheers!

    Molly | July 29th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  4. Using a reusable bottle is not only better for your health, but it also saves you time and money. No more pallets of water to haul home from the store and no heaps of disposable plastic bottles to dispose of. If you consider that tap water is almost 1000x cheaper than bottled water, the average person will save over $35/year using a reusable bottle. Another good thing about stainless steel bottles is that they are dishwasher safe. High quality stainless steel bottles are usually thicker guage steel so they don’t dent as easily as aluminum bottles.

    Lydia | January 20th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  5. Hello! Great blog. I love finding new ways to greenify my life :). I must say, buying a reusable water bottle was one of the best lifestyle decisions I ever made! As mentioned before, reusable water bottles save a lot of money. Not to mention a LOT of plastic and a LOT of space in landfills! I use a Klean Kanteen bottle, which is made from food grade stainless steel. I love it! It’s durable and completely BPA free. Can’t go wrong with that.

    Thanks for posting!

    Emily | March 6th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  6. That’s a great post! I never knew that you could actually recycle your shoes.

    I have been a big proponent of recycling though, and love the aluminum bottle idea.

    Adam | November 26th, 2012 | Comment Permalink

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