CAP en Español
Small CAP Banner

It’s Easy Being Green: Good for Your Buns, Good for the Environment

SOURCE: AP/Chris O'Meara

Cayla Giaimo, left, and Melenda Campbell, right, working out with instructor Jenn Hall, center, during an aerobics class at Wellsprings, FL. While planning your routine to achieve those killer glutes and abs, don’t forget about the effect your workout has on the environment.

  • print icon
  • SHARE:
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Share on Google+
  • Email icon

Read more articles from the "It’s Easy Being Green" series

Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming and birds are chirping. But the idyllic weather and balmy temperatures won’t last long: Summer is right around the corner. This means that the time to make good on that New Year’s resolution to get in shape for the summer is upon us. But while planning your routine to achieve those killer glutes and abs, don’t forget about the effect your workout has on the environment. Here are some simple tips to keep getting fit earth friendly.

First of all, the great outdoors has some of the most energy efficient—and simple—workouts nature has to offer. Walking or jogging outside requires little waste-producing equipment other than running shoes, and saves precious CO2 compared to a treadmill workout, which uses two pounds of the stuff for a 30-minute run. And if hitting the pavement for half an hour sounds like a drag, combine a brisk jog to the supermarket with a stroll back home while toting your purchases for a workout that gets your heart rate up and helps tone your arms. Gardening, biking, and hiking also offer excellent opportunities for a zero-emission outdoors workout, and plenty of traditional exercises—jumping rope, squats, and pushups, to name a few—are easy to take outside as well.

If you need a little more structure for your exercise plan, consider joining a gym over buying a home cardio machine, which produces extra waste and gets used less over its lifetime compared to gym machines that are constantly in use. Gyms use lots of electricity to power their machines, air conditioning, and lights, but eco-friendly ones are becoming more and more common. Look for a gym that uses energy efficient equipment, such as treadmills that use about one-third less energy than traditional ones, and lights and televisions that are turned on only when needed. Using refillable water bottles and your own towel to wipe down equipment, rather than single-use disposable ones, can also help keep waste down.

Some gyms take energy efficiency a step further. The Green Microgym in Portland, Oregon, generates as much as 36 percent of its energy from solar panels and human-powered generators attached to stationary bikes and ellipticals. The Portland gym saved 37,000 kilowatt-hours in 2009 through its use of human and solar power and other energy-saving measures. If you prefer to keep your workout at home, and you’re feeling extra crafty, you can even build your own human-powered generator.

Whether you decide to workout at home or at the gym, choosing eco-friendly gear is a must. Hit up Craigslist or a garage sale for gently used bikes, free weights, or other equipment. Shop around for yoga or exercise mats made of non-PVC material, and look for breathable workout clothes made from organic soy or cotton blends, and recycled rubber-soled shoes.

Read more articles from the "It’s Easy Being Green" series

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or

TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or