Staying healthy plays an important role in living sustainably, but many people go overboard with equipment and technology while trying to stay fit. For centuries, people got their exercise by working outdoors, chopping firewood, hauling water and tending gardens. Health clubs and gyms use huge amounts of energy to heat and cool vast interior spaces. Exercise equipment and saunas run on electricity, squandering natural resources unnecessarily.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle offers many wellness benefits, and many people get exercise from outdoor physical activities during good weather. However, winter often presents problems finding ways to exercise in eco-friendly ways. Nevertheless, people can find natural ways to exercise during inclement weather without taxing natural resources or creating large carbon footprints.
Take Some Tips from the Best Green Coach—Nature
You can get healthy exercise from any number of activities during the winter, and all you have to do is think about ways to adapt your physical activity to environmentally friendly practices. Yoga, pilates, weight training and other exercises work fine in the home. If you need the kind of encouragement that comes from working with other people, you could find an exercise buddy, join an amateur neighborhood sports team near your home or try to find the greenest exercise facility possible. Many health clubs offer simple mechanical workout tools. Choose a gym or health club close to home, so you don’t waste gas driving long distances.
Bicycle riding offers an invigorating workout, especially in cold weather. Dress warmly, wear gloves and get the heart pumping by taking a brisk morning ride to jumpstart your metabolism for the day. Jogging provides a great cardiovascular workout without using fossil fuels, dangerous chemicals or expensive equipment.
Tips for Greener Winter Exercise
Think about what you do and the energy you use, and you will begin to adapt to greener ways. Some key areas where you can concentrate include the following ideas to stimulate your creativity.
1. Gear Up by Gearing Down
Reusable water bottles keep you hydrated without encouraging the use of bisphenol A, the BPAs found in some plastics that pose health risks. Stainless steel water bottles offer sustainable use and protect water from contamination. Portable filter bottles run tap water through activated charcoal for healthy, natural filtration.
- Reusable wet bags for gym clothing replace plastic bags.
- Eco-friendly canvas totes carry what you need without plastics that emit PCPs.
- Choose environmentally friendly workout suits of cotton or natural fibers.
2. Play Outdoors
You can find many ways to multitask outdoors by combining exercise with entertainment. Play with the dog in the snow and go sledding or skiing. Running in brisk weather offers cardiovascular benefits, and playing with the dog helps it stay healthy. If you have less energy for vigorous exercise, remember that walking ranks as one of the best forms of exercise for all people in any physical condition.
- Walk to the store to save gas and get exercise.
- You can carry larger sacks of groceries by taking a cart or tying cloth bags together and balancing them over your shoulder.
3. Home at the Range
Staying home during inclement weather doesn’t mean you have to vegetate, but eating fresh vegetables helps keep you healthy. Avoid overcooking foods or pigging out on fattening comfort foods during bad weather.
- Fresh vegetables and healthy snacks conserve energy that is needed for cooking and preserves nutrients.
- Organic foods from local sources reduce energy used for transportation and storage, and the produce is free of chemicals, additives and preservatives.
- Eco-friendly home-exercise options include yoga and Pilates routines, sit-ups, crunches, stretching routines and jumping rope.
- Step exercises that use the stairs at home burn calories efficiently.
- Take stairs when possible to get exercise and reduce the electricity needed to power elevators.
- Exercise DVDs offer encouragement when you get stuck inside during freezing weather or blizzard conditions.
- An exercise pool at home offers outstanding exercise possibilities.
4. Try the Local Recreation Center
Community recreation centers often use fewer resources than “fancy” fitness centers. Many offer exercise and sports programs, and the local YMCA and YWCA chapters offer swimming and exercise programs throughout the year.
- Aquatic therapy offers workouts for people who have health issues with their joints and circulatory systems.
- Hydrotherapy reduces stress, increases strength and endurance, lowers impacts on joints and feet, reduces swelling and improves blood circulation.
- Local recreation centers and eco-friendly gyms offer weights, indoor tracks, and mechanical exercise equipment. You need not buy expensive equipment when you could use available equipment close to home.
5. Recycling State of Mind
Consider buying used exercise equipment advertised online or from local resale shops. Donate your old sports equipment to get more use from manufacturing processes. Buy a used bicycle and take up biking for exercise or to replace short car trips.
Consider your actions and their potential carbon footprints. You can buy an environmentally friendly exercise pool, hot tub, spa or alternative water treatments for outdoor pools. Walk, jog, run, climb stairs, and play sports to condition the body, stimulate the mind and keep active in winter. You can exercise locally and stay green by using your own energy.
-Guest post provided by Brandon Serna on behalf of HydroWorx