Fitness Articles

Eco-Exercise: Get Fit & Give Back

Plus 5 Ways to ''Green'' Your Workout

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Here are five more ideas to give a green twist to your fitness routine:
  • Do as much as you like. You don’t have to dedicate yourself to litter patrol during every fitness activity to be an eco-exerciser. You could set aside one run per week for eco-running, or even just commit to 15 litter stops per hike, for example.
     
  • Take it one step further. Put paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, and other recyclables you find into the nearest recycling bin instead of throwing them in the trashcan.
     
  • Green your gear. Although you don’t need any special equipment to eco-run (and the most eco-friendly thing you can do is use what you have instead of buying new stuff), there will come a time when your running shoes will wear out, or your favorite high-performance sweat-wicking shirt will stop performing. When this time comes, replace it with these eco-friendly threads.
     
  • Consider your transportation. Are you driving your SUV to the bike trail, park or gym on the other side of town? Get there in an earth-friendly manner, if possible. Carpool with friends, use public transit, or pick a closer destination to decrease your footprint even further.
     
  • Choose wisely. Consumers want products that are made sustainably, and more companies are heeding to the call. These days, it's getting easier to find eco-friendly fitness and recreational equipment—from snowboards to bikes to water bottles. Do a little research to find out which companies are taking the planet into consideration when choosing materials, manufacturing and shipping methods. Buy their products if feasible. When consumers increase demand, prices will drop and choices will increase.
Eco-running (or eco-anything for that matter) is about taking small steps to improve our world, while improving your body at the same time. Combine your passion with a purpose, and bring your awareness of the environment with you wherever you go.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • Charity Miles is a great app that tracks the time you run/walk/bike and then translates that into minutes of research for things like St. Judes, the March of Dimes, Michael J. Fox Foundation, etc. It's a super easy way for people like me who don't really have money to donate, to feel like I'm actually giving something and helping someone. :) - 3/7/2013 9:50:58 PM
  • Lets try again... I teach high school in the city schools of Rochester NY. In past years we had a hiking club in which the kids picked up debris while we walked. Since staff is not allowed to drive the kids, they carpooled with other kids who had cars. We did drive to several area parks. The kids who did not have cars (and some who did) were amazed these places existed. Many of them live in neighborhoods where taking walks is not a safe option and many of them don't see a lot of nature. There have been studies done that show that exposing kids to nature for a certain amount of time each week lowers their stress levels and increases their self esteem. I didnt' do it this year bc it was such a pain to set up the carpools and the person who was in charge left. Maybe I will apply to start another hiking club next year. - 3/7/2013 4:00:34 PM
  • I teach in the city school district in Rochester NY. In past years we have had a hiking club in which the kids did this while we walked. Since we are not allowed to drive the cz - 3/7/2013 3:55:47 PM
  • I have also been doing this for a long time now, for about 20 years. I don't do it because it's "eco" or cool. I do it because that is the responsible thing to do. - 3/7/2013 1:06:01 PM
  • KMF2012
    I must say that this all seems a little ridiculous to me. Since when is picking up trash in order to be a good stewart of God's creation labeled and conceived as a "novel idea"? Whatever happened to just being a caring person who hates litter? I've been carrying plastic grocery bags (doubled) with me whenever I take walks for years, sometimes in the spring needing to go back over the route in my car to pick them all up, and then sort out the glass, aluminum and burnable trash. Guess it's not such a novel idea after all. - 3/7/2013 1:02:35 PM
  • A friend of mine mentioned seeing someone doing this recently. I run a few trails near my house and am going to start picking up garbage on my runs there. There is a trash can around the midpoint as well, so it really won't take much effort to make a difference. What a great concept! - 3/7/2013 12:45:50 PM
  • People in my area have done this for years! I am 57 years old and did this as a kid. My husband never leaves the house without a trash bag, either walking or driving.
    As for driving to a walking/running track ....I mentioned that I thought it an oximoron to drive someplace to walk and got lots and lots of rude comments. - 3/7/2013 9:21:46 AM
  • I've been doing this for a while, now... especially when I have my girls in the stroller. The little baskets under their seats aren't used for much else than picking stuff up off the sides of the street. We don't have random trash receptacles, though, so it all comes home with me. - 3/7/2013 9:21:09 AM
  • I've been doing this for years, but it won't earn a safe spot if the Agenda 21 people have their way. Only the ones they deem worthy will have those. In the mean time, I will keep doing my best to keep/make the planet a beautiful, healthy place to live.. - 5/5/2012 4:40:51 PM
  • How ironic. I usually see a lady doing this while I'm running; never knew it had a name besides picking up neighborhood trash. Cool :-) - 3/24/2011 9:18:28 PM
  • The link is NOT to his page, however. That link goes to a commercialized one that is "sponsored" by businesses. His actual website is: http://www.ecolog
    yrunner.com/
    - 10/26/2010 12:14:57 PM
  • You wouldn't get very far in some neighbourhoods. - 10/26/2010 7:34:29 AM
  • I do this and didn't realize there was a name for it! Cool! - 6/10/2010 3:03:47 PM
  • I love it love it love it! In fact, I love it so much, I started a team for it here on Sparkpeople. Check it out and join the Eco-fitness trend! Here is the team address: http://teams.spar
    kpeople.com/e
    corunners - 9/16/2009 4:30:04 PM
  • It is so ironic that I would read this article one day after I did something similar. On Sunday Mornings, I decided that I would walk around my campus and pick up trash while on my walk!!!! So ironic!!!!! - 5/4/2009 11:05:40 AM
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