As long as people have existed, we have been using our bodies to interface with the world around us. For the better part of three millennia, we have competed in games to see who can be the best. This practice goes back to the ancient Olympics but was only a development in our competitive spirit.
We still interface with the world around us. The highest peaks of the Earth have been explored, as have the reaches of space and certain ocean depths. The next horizon is still always on our minds, but it isn’t necessarily geographic.
As with personal fitness, it is an intangible goal without a set endpoint. It is one we must work at — every day. We are discussing the movement of Eco-Fitness.
The Definition of Eco-Fitness
It’s no secret that our environment is in danger. It is under siege on numerous fronts by both public companies and private individuals. Energy usage, trash, waste production, and other practices all contribute to environmental issues. This includes global warming, endangered ecosystems, and putrid city air.
There have been many pushes against these uncaring trends. Recycling, slow fashion, and stronger business regulations all serve to stem environmental impact. In the fitness sphere, there has also been a significant push to these pieces.
It is unavoidable that we should have some environmental impact. Yet note that some large business operations do significantly more damage than most private individuals. Just 100 companies are responsible for nearly three-fourths of the world’s pollution.
Given these figures, it can be disheartening and demotivating to try to help the environment. Still, this does not stop those who engage in Eco-Fitness.
Eco-Fitness serves to reduce the impact created by gyms by engaging in exercises that only rely on the body’s energy. It also serves to generate electricity in sustainable ways where it can.
This utilizes renewable energy sources, which in some cases even includes the human body.
Eco-Gyms: Operations and Philosophy
Gyms that use green measures to operate are called Eco-Gyms. As stated, they use clean energy sources, including the kinetic force of their members.
Take, for example, the stationary equipment seen in most gyms like treadmills or bikes. These rely on electricity to function, with different levels of output from users. A green bike would take the energy exerted and transform that into usable energy. This requires specialized set-ups but has a net positive gain over time.
A single bike does not produce a massive amount of energy. Many green bikes generate around 200 Wh per hour, while the average home uses 10,715 Wh per month. Still, biking one hour a day would result in over half that monthly usage. When that number is multiplied by the number of bikes in a gym, it becomes far more significant.
Few Eco-Gyms are powered by bikes alone. That would require consistent usage, which cannot be totally relied upon. Instead, many Eco-Gyms use a combination of tactics to reduce their energy consumption. A gym may combine user-generated electricity with solar and wind power to meet their overarching energy needs.
The best eco-gyms think about all aspects of how they impact the environment and not just their power sources. This may include using environmentally sustainable materials and practices in paperwork and in sourcing gym supplies. It may include specialized cleaning supplies as well. The best Eco-Gyms both hold themselves to a high standard and encourage others to as well.
Why Eco-Fitness Is the Way of the Future
Protecting the environment on a global scale requires global change. Global activities start small and individual citizens can help create change. This requires being cognizant of the implications of what you are doing.
Imagine a gym that relies primarily on kinetic motion without the use of electrically-powered equipment. This can be your classic, weight-focused gym or something like CrossFit that relies on boxes.
Now, imagine a gym whose entire existence relies on stationary, electronic bikes, such as CrossFit or Peloton. Which do you suppose has the more consumptive environmental impact? Without the use of green equipment, the answer is unequivocally the latter. However, green equipment allows the latter scenario to be actively beneficial.
Eco-Fitness doesn’t just help the environment. It can actively transform the way activities affect it. Electric-powered bikes are far from the most harmful environmental practice in the fitness world. Luckily, the ingenuity of companies has resulted in a massive net positive for these.
Engaging in eco-fitness can also help inspire motivation. With your body as a generator, you determine the electrical output. This can inspire longer workouts and higher intensity exercises.
Eco-Fitness isn’t just the purview of gym owners and sports equipment manufacturers. Every individual can take these principles into their own lives for excellent results.
Ways To Make Your Own Exercises Eco-Friendly
The first way to make your fitness regimen environmentally friendly is to ditch the gym and work out outdoors. Biking, hiking, and rock climbing all provide challenging, great ways to get a daily workout. If you are tackling specific muscles, bring your own free weights and plan your exercises in advance.
When you do go to the gym, consider how they operate. Before signing up for a spin class, see if they take any steps to self-generate their power. If not, see if any area spin classes do take this extra step. If eco-gyms begin to outperform standard gyms, it will motivate wide systemic change.
You can also try and exercise with a social purpose. Many groups facilitate charity races and other activities. Getting involved in these can help boost social and sometimes environmental causes.
If you have a stationary bike at home that you use daily or regularly, consider swapping to a green bike. It would take some extra setup and investment but could lower power costs slightly over time if you love cycling. It would also significantly reduce your energy reliance on other sources.
If you don’t own much equipment apart from your clothes, don’t worry. Exercises like yoga can be done anywhere you have ample space. While yoga mats themselves are helpful, they are not always an absolute necessity. If you are within walking distance of a park, doing yoga outdoors can provide a special benefit to your meditative practices in an environmentally conscious way.
It doesn’t require radical evolution to turn your workout into an eco-friendly one. Most of these details existed prior to eco-gyms. All it takes is a bit of ingenuity and a conscious understanding of how you act in the world.
Other Ways to Engage In Fitness In An Eco-Friendly Manner
Choosing Workout Apparel with Intentionality
The way you prepare for your workout also has environmental implications. Pure synthetic materials and denim can both have negative environmental impacts depending on their creation process.
Regardless of material, low-quality goods wear out quickly and can flake off when outdoors. Prioritize high-quality performance apparel when gearing up for any activity.
When outdoors, be prepared to clear away any debris you may find. As Swedish exercise trends tell, this doesn’t just include your trash but those of others. The Swedish movement of plogging combines outdoor jogging or hiking with conscious clean-up efforts.
To plog is to pick trash and other rubbish up while hiking or exploring regular paths. Rather than collecting it and disposing of it in nearby receptacles, you bring a specific recyclable bag with you. This allows for maximum clean-up efforts to occur.
The way you shop also has an impact on the environment as well as yourself. An athlete’s diet calls for a lot, and certain foods can help with this. Specific fish are sometimes the result of overfishing or other problematic harvesting habits. Sourcing sustainably caught food can be of the utmost importance when trying to create an eco-friendly life.
Why Eco-Fitness Gyms Are Here To Stay
In the days of the earliest Olympics, our greatest competitors were each other. Even then, we mythologized the world, with natural phenomena, human attributes, and occupations personified as pagan gods. We hold that same reverence towards our natural environment, which is why Eco-Gyms are here to stay.
They revitalize the way we exercise. A group of cyclers suddenly becomes a group providing the very power to keep their gyms lights on. A person can contribute to going “off the grid” through sheer willpower and exertion.
Olivers holds our uncompromising standard for excellence as proof that there is always room for growth.
The Games | The Real Story of the Ancient Olympic Games I Penn Museum
Just 100 Companies Responsible For 71% of Global Emissions, Study Says | The Guardian
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) I US Energy Information Administration (EIA)
'Plogging' Swedish fitness craze is coming to the US | The Washington Post