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Monday, December 28, 2009

A New Year's Resolution - Eco-Friendly Exercise

One of the most common New Year's Resolutions is to embrace a healthier lifestyle, which usually includes an increase in exercise. Oftentimes, eco-minded exercisers overlook the many ways one can incorporate eco-friendly values into getting fit, staying trim, and building muscle. Go beyond taking sips of hydration from a reusable, toxic-free water bottle (helping to cut down on the yearly waste accumulating in landfills) and allow us to broaden your horizons with the following green exercise suggestions: Footwear Running, jogging or taking a leisurely stroll are popular methods of increasing your daily exercise. The market is full of environmentally friendly footwear that allows you to accomplish your fitness goals. From recycled rubber outsoles to packing products in unbleached recycled cardboard boxes, an increasing number of shoe companies have stopped using chemicals and materials harmful to the environment, such as polyvinyl chloride (better known as PVC). To get an idea of the possibilities, check out the entire line of Brooks' Trail footwear collection or their Green Silence racing flat (shown above) – comprised of 75% recycled materials. Socks You can't enjoy a good workout without protecting your feet from sweat and friction. A good pair of socks doesn’t have to contain bleached, synthetic fibers. Choose socks from companies, like Teko, which provide high quality through renewable resources, such as wool, organic cotton, and fibers made from corn. Teko uses "premium merino wool" sourced from farms in Argentina and recycled tekoPOLY to create socks with a luxury fit and insulation. Shown is the tekoPOLY Light Mini Crew for women. Clothing During exercise, you may cover your limbs and warm your body with a range of eco friendly clothing choices – fashioned out of renewable, organic, and recycled materials. Companies, such as Patagonia and Gaiam are known for pushing the envelope of sustainability with cotton, hemp, bamboo and soy fibers that make an earth conscious workout program easier to achieve. In addition to Birkenstocks Unisex Eco-Friendly Socks (combination of EcoSpun and cotton) to eye-catching swimwear, the Cannondale bike jersey shown is comprised of high-quality fibers comprised of recycled soda bottles. Exercise Mats To accommodate your Pilates and yoga sessions, an exercise mat protects your body during a workout. You can protect the environment by selecting products that forego the use of toxic chemicals and damaging manufacturing processes. For example, the Natural Fitness Powerhouse eco friendly workout mat provides cushioning for floor exercises by using an environmentally friendly foam material sans toxic phthalates or PVC. As part of the Zero Impact Program, trees are planted every time one of the mats is sold. Other companies offering eco-friendly exercise mats include GreenYoga, Gaiam and BareFootYoga. Exercise Equipment From using eco-friendly paints to coat machinery and working with sustainable materials, incorporate earth-conscious exercise equipment into your get-fit routines. Interesting selections include the WaterRower – a wooden rowing machine that uses water to create resistance during workouts. The fine hardwoods used in the construction of the machine come from sources of replenishable ash, cherrywood, and Black American walnut sources. The WaterRower uses no electricity, as it gains power from your effort.

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