Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on October 11, 2009
Want to keep your body in shape and help sustain the planet at the same time? It’s easier than you think. The most obvious way to do this is simply canceling your gym membership and taking your workout outside. Not only will you save that monthly debit charge, I guarantee you the scenery’s better. Wouldn’t you rather look at trees, mountains and animals than at mirrored walls and sweaty humans making like gerbils – going up, down and around on machines, but never actually getting anywhere?
But aside from your enjoyment, did you know that exercising outside can also positively impact the environment? For example, running on a trail instead of a treadmill saves electricity. On top of that, it can help you establish a connection with your community and the people in it.
But you don’t have to be a jogger to get your RDA of aerobic exercise. There are many outdoor activities to get you into the green groove. Going for a walk is one of the greatest ways to keep your body looking and feeling great. And if you’re a multi-tasker, you can combine your walk with a trip to the grocery store. Hike. Ride your bike to work, if it’s feasible. Or better yet, give to yourself and to your community. Participate in conservation and reforestation activities like gardening, planting trees or building trails. Lots of public parks depend on volunteers to keep their spaces healthy and green, and gardening is an excellent low-impact exercise. Something as simple as pulling weeds and pruning trees can have tremendous benefits, both physiologically and ecologically.
If you enjoy the social aspect of working out, check the internet for green clubs or fitness organizations like The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club or Organic Athlete. The latter, founded in 2003, is a plant diet-based group that promotes earth-friendly, healthy living through sport. Their members meet for training, information sharing and community building. Chances are your community has other ecologically conscious people seeking the same.
If going to the gym is the only thing that works for you, don’t despair — there are still ways you can green the experience. Instead of buying bottled water, bring your own refillable container. Wear sustainable and comfortable clothing like organic cotton or hemp. Avoid petroleum based products and leather running shoes – there are plenty of responsible clothing manufacturers who actually contribute to a happy planet. Ask the people who run your gym if they’ve implemented any water-saving plans in the wet areas (showers, jacuzzis, swimming pools) and if they’re using natural cleaning products. Do they recycle? Do their machines automatically shut off when not in use? What kind of light bulbs are they using? Help make your gym the most eco-responsible in town.
But no matter what exercise you choose, be sure to stay hydrated and fueled by drinking plenty of water and eating fresh fruit or organic energy bars.
Remember, a healthier you and a healthier planet is very “G”.