Green Out Your Workout

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Have you heard about naked yoga? Apparently it’s a thing, but if you want to be eco-friendly in your workout there are less extreme ways to help the environment without letting it all hang out. I mean, just imagine having to clean the yoga mats. And the view in downward facing dog (shudder). I’m all for loving your body, but there’s a limit. If you agree, here are some other ideas for getting green while getting fit.

GET OUTSIDE

I get the appeal of a stationary bike or a treadmill, I really do. You can get a workout in throughout the year, rain or shine. You can answer work emails, update Facebook, or catch up on the latest celebrity gossip online while improving your health. It’s multitasking to the max. But part of the benefit of working out is disconnecting from the rest of the world for a bit. Trade the stationary bike for the real thing or go for a jog through the park. Not only do you get to go outside and enjoy nature, you also help the environment because—and it may seem obvious, but I’m going to say it anyway—you’re not using electricity to power your workout.

PURCHASE EARTH-FRIENDLY GEAR

There are a number of companies doing their part for the environment. If you’re into yoga, naked or not (hey, do what you want in the privacy of your own home), Gaiam makes all of their mats without the use of phthalates. Phthalates pose a threat to the internal organs of humans—including our reproductive bits—and according to the National Toxicology Program (part of the US Department of Health and Human Services), diphthalate is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” The FDA and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences are also conducting research on the biological and ecological impact of phthalates. I think it’s best to stay away from them.

You can also grab a balance ball, yoga bolster or some resistance bands from Natural Fitness. The company is doing their part to make the world cleaner by planting a tree for every purchase made in their shop. While this feels a bit like they’re capitalizing on the green trends out there, if they’re planting a tree for every purchase, we all win.

RECYCLE YOUR SHOES

When your athletic shoes are worn out, don’t throw them away. Instead, donate them to a foundation that reuses the material. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe takes discarded athletic shoes and grinds them up into a bunch of shreds they’ve creatively named “Nike Grind.” Nike Grind is then used to build athletic courts, outdoor tracks and AstroTurf-like surfaces.

Whether you want to go all out on greening your workout or you’re just looking for a small change here and there, even the smallest steps are steps in the right direction, much like beginning a workout itself.

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Megan Winkler

Eco-nerd, solar power enthusiast, DIY diva and professional coffee drinker, Megan has written everything from courses in healthcare and psychology to interior design and cooking advice. She has a master’s degree in military history, owns two chainsaws, is a collector of strange trivia and a world renowned Pinterest pro. She is constantly looking for better ways to do things.

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