Green Your Fitness Routine

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Soak in the vitamin D benefit of sunshine and save on the energy used to run the treadmill. Get back to nature! Photo: Flickr/lululemon athletica

With summer and swimsuit season almost here, you may be thinking of picking up the fitness routine you promised yourself back in January.

Many of the things you can do to make your workout eco-friendly will actually make your workout better for you in the long run. So get moving!

1. Buy a reusable water bottle.
Americans buy an estimated 29.8 billion plastic water bottles every year, and nearly eight out of every 10 bottles will end up in a landfill. Try toting along a reusable bottle to your next workout session. Refilling the bottle with tap water will save tons of money and waste. But if you occasionally forget your reusable bottle and have to purchase a plastic bottle, make sure you recycle it.

2. Buy an eco friendly yoga mat.
According to a Yoga Journal study, 15.8 million people practice yoga in the United States – that’s a lot of yoga mats! Made of materials such as natural rubber, plastic, PVC or latex, most yoga mats are recyclable. Yoga studios around the country are embracing the idea of mat recycling and donation. If your studio does not participate or you are a home practitioner, Recycle Your Mat has mail-in programs for all types of mats as well. If you’re in the market for a new mat, look for mats made of biodegradable and recyclable materials. Barefoot Yoga Co. has a great list of eco-friendly mats.

3. Go with organic workout attire.
Organic cotton uses agricultural methods designed to help sustain the land it grows on and the people who harvest it, helping to reduce the toxic pesticides used to make conventional cotton. Patagonia is one option for finding organic workout clothes. The company also offers a clothing recycling program.

4. Exercise outside.
Soak in the vitamin D benefit of sunshine and save on the energy used to run the treadmill. Besides jogging and hiking, consider taking on the calorie-burning projects you’ve been putting off, such as gardening or painting. If the rain is keeping you in, rent an exercise DVD from the library or buy a used one at a garage sale or search on Craigslist.

5. If you join a gym, choose one near you.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but join a gym that’s closest to your home or office, even if it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of that trendy gym across town. By joining a local gym, you can walk, run or bike to get there and burn calories along the way! If not taking the car seems daunting, start by biking or running one day a week and take public transportation the other days.

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