- How do you get to your gym?
As long as the weather is nice, your local park is probably the greenest spot for your workout. And, unlike the gym, it's free! If you live in an urban area where smog is a factor, click here for air-quality forecasts.
Jogging or riding a bike to the gym makes a lot more sense than driving your car. If you have to drive, try parking a few blocks from the gym and walk or jog the rest of the way.
Working out at home is cheaper than a gym membership. However, some exercise machines use a considerable amount of energy. A typical workout on a treadmill sends two pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
You can also green your workout with outdoor activities, like gardening. And if there's a blanket of snow outside, shoveling the driveway and cross-country skiing also count.
- Your bike...
There are 1 billion bicycles in the world! The bike is a zero-emissions, super-efficient, highly durable way to get around. Unlike the car, there are no registration fees and insurance bills! If you don't own one and buying a new one is too much for your wallet, scope out a garage sale. Or, keep a lookout for those bike-sharing programs you keep hearing about.
- You're feeling the burn and need to quench your thirst. You reach for:
Use a reusable container with a sticker bearing your name. First of all, drinking soda is a weight-gainer and tooth-decayer. And though recycling aluminum cans is a given, the processing of aluminum takes considerable energy.
Americans spend $11 billion a year on bottled water, even when tap water is free and, in most cases, just as healthy. The manufacturing of plastic water bottles in the U.S. consumes 1.5 million barrels of oil annually -- enough to power 250,000 homes for a year. And the industry creates hundreds of millions of pounds of waste.
So fill ye olde water bottle with the beverage of your choice, and use it again... and again....
- Your friend just started the Atkins diet and brags to you about losing three pounds over the past two weeks. Meanwhile, she's wolfing down a chicken leg while grilling burgers. You get a queasy feeling because you know that livestock accounts for about ___ percent of all greenhouse gas emissions from humans.
It's not rocket science when they say that if you want to lose weight, you should exercise and eat healthier. Well, that's great news if you also want to green your regimen! Eating locally grown and organic produce is a great start.
And whether or not you'd like to quit eating meat, it's no secret that the meat industry is a huge culprit in overall greenhouse-gas emissions. Raising cows for beef is a major source of atmospheric methane, a potent global warming agent. And meat products in general are resource-intensive on the planet.
If you love your meat, challenge yourself by making one day of the week a vegetarian day and see how it goes.
As for the Atkins Diet, while it is an aspect of the overall diet, it's a common misconception that meat is the primary focus of the Atkins philosophy.
- A green gym in Portland, Oregon, uses power generated by its exercise bikes. whose combined average energy output is 200 watts, enough to...
200 watts will power a stereo, atelevision, and a computer. The idea of human power has been around a long time, but only recently has been put into practice at Green Microgym in Portland. The gym is hoping that one day all of the building's energy will be generated by its members. For more info on human-generated power, click here.
- What percentage of personal trips (errands to the grocery store, bank, post office, etc.) are two miles or less, which can be part of a personal workout regimen?
If you said 20 or 60 percent, you're close but incorrect. Four out of ten personal trips are two miles or less.
We're not saying that all short trips should be car-less -- especially when the weather is frightful. But this statistic puts into perspective how many opportunities we have to walk, jog, or ride a bike instead of turning on the ignition. And after a while, this will translate into savings on gas and car maintenance.
From Sierra Magazine:
"It turns out that fighting global warming is good for the waistline. If every American spent 30 minutes a day walking or cycling instead of driving, the citizenry would collectively cut carbon emissions by 64 million tons and shed 3 billion pounds of excess flab, according to Paul Higgins of the American Association for the Advancement of Science."
- Your favorite sneakers are torn and frayed. You don't want to throw them in the trash, but these shoes are way too run-down for the thrift shop. What do you do?
Nike Grind is a program that will transform your old shoes into surface material for basketball courts and racing tracks. Or, if your shoes are salvageable but you're not sure where to donate them, find the nearest shoe-recycling center.
- "Talc," "Phthalates," and "Glycol" are:
Deodorants and antiperspirants are loaded with chemicals, carcinogens, and aluminum. If you want to green your workout without scaring people away with bad odor, consider alternative brands for your underarms. Goodguide.com also has a user-friendly rating system.
Another gym-related possession that has chemicals are yoga mats. For info on how to safely dispose of them when they wear down, try this advice from Grist.
- How would you describe your usual energy bar?
There are no regulated or certifiable definitions for nutritional energy bars the way there are for organic foods. Many standard bars are loaded with unhealthy ingredients, such as corn syrup. Purchasing organic energy bars will at least give you a sense that they were manufactured with the planet in mind.
To make your own organic energy bar, try this person's recipe or this one.
- After exercising and showering, you notice you're running low on clean workout clothes and it's time to do a load. After washing them, you air dry them because you know that in a typical American household, dryers account for about ___ percent of total electricity usage:
Six percent. Depending on your rates, it costs up to 40 cents to dry a load in an electric dryer and 20 cents in a gas dryer. If you use a dryer, consider air drying a larger portion of your load. And if you live in a place that forbids outdoor air drying, arm yourself with statistics, petition to get the rules changed, and start "a right to dry movement."