Sustainable Workouts

Everyone wants to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, right?
We speak to sustainability graduate Holly Ragan who’s given us her top 5 tips to make your workout more sustainable and that doesn’t break the bank!

By Holly Ragan

My name is Holly Ragan, a recent MSc Sustainability graduate working to make sustainability more relatable for fellow active young women. I’ve put together this guide with 5 tips to help you build a more eco-friendly fitness routine that doesn’t require splashing the cash on high-end ‘sustainable’ workout sets.

We know how hard it is to squeeze in a workout – weekdays are spent working and the weekend is for socialising, right? And if you’re committed to an early morning gym session or a post-work pilates class, chances are you’re going to exercise somewhere convenient for your everyday routine and that doesn’t break the bank. So, when it comes to working out, saving the planet is probably the last thing on your mind.

We all have a vague idea about what sustainability is, but what does it mean in relation to fitness? How can you build more eco-friendly practices into your active lifestyle? Whether it means switching up the type of workout you do, being more resourceful with how you fuel your body, or recycling your activewear when it’s feeling more worn out than you are, it’s easier than you think to make your fitness routine a little kinder to the planet…

1. Consider Where You Exercise

a. Terra Hale 

b. GoodGym

GoodGym is on a mission to combine exercise and doing social good.

Gyms have an extremely high energy usage, with machinery, lighting, vending machines and air conditioning contributing to a high carbon footprint. For avid gym-goers unwilling to sacrifice the sesh, eco-friendly gyms are popping up all over the country. Check out Terra Hale, London’s first eco-friendly fitness destination, where all gym equipment is made from recycled materials. The walls are made from reclaimed wood and the abundance of indoor plants act as natural air purifiers. Visit Terra Hale’s sustainable studios in Notting Hill, Chelsea and Fulham for eco-friendly personal training sessions and nutritional coaching as part of their holistic approach to exercise.

It is estimated that the average gym-goer generates enough energy to power a washing machine for up to two hours during a workout. This irony was not lost on the GoodGym group, who were frustrated at the imbalance of energy production and consumption at standard gyms. The GoodGym’s solution is to harness energy generated by exercise towards doing social good, such as delivering groceries or helping with furniture removals for the elderly, meaning volunteers can give back while getting in their workout. So instead of wasting your energy furiously peddling, pushing and lifting, why not replace one of your weekly gym sessions with a GoodGym mission, and put your effort into helping, giving and volunteering.

HumanForest bikes give you a free 10-minute ride.

2. Consider How You Get To And From Your Workout

a. HumanForest app – find e-bikes near you

b. Dott, Lime or Tier electric scooters

By now you’ve probably got your pre and post-workout commute timed to perfection, but switching out the stuffy tube ride for an electric bike or scooter journey is a great way to minimise your carbon footprint (and save money!). Electric bikes and scooters are available in cities all over the UK, and if you’re in London look out for the carbon-negative HumanForest bikes that give you a free 10-minute ride for choosing their emissions-free mode of transport. Across the UK, also keep an eye out for Dott, Lime or Tier electric scooters for an eco-friendly (and entertaining) way of getting to and from your workout. And it goes without saying – walking is also eco-friendly!

Use an eco-friendly electric scooter.

3. Recycle Your Activewear

a. Fitbit recycling scheme 

b. Sweaty betty
i. Already collected 40,000+ pieces of activewear

c. Hylo athletics 

Recycle your activewear.

When your workout kit has seen better days or you find that your brand new smartwatch has seen no days at all, recycling your activewear is another great way to lead a sustainable active lifestyle. These days, many activewear brands have recycling initiatives that will reward you with store credit in exchange for your old kit, such as Sweaty Betty’s 40% off when recycling your Sweaty clothes with their sustainability partner Reskinned. Fitbit also offers a free recycling scheme for old devices via prepaid shipping, and check out hylo athletics’ eco-initiative ‘hyloop’ to recycle trainers from any company in exchange for £10 of hylo credit. Reap the rewards of having a fitness routine that is kind to the planet!

There's a variety of eco-friendly apps to help refuel your body.

4. Consider How You Fuel Your Workout

a. Use refill app

b. TooGoodToGo app

c. Olio

Fuelling your body is an essential part of any workout, so we’ve found some handy eco-friendly apps to help you stay nourished and hydrated in a more resourceful way. Download the app ‘Refill’ to find places near you that will fill up your reusable water bottle for free (when you remember to bring it with you!), for guilt-free rehydration at over 274,000 Refill stations globally. And to satisfy your post-workout appetite, pick up a ‘Magic Bag’ of surplus food from nearby cafes and restaurants using the TooGoodToGo app – perfectly good food at a discounted price that would otherwise go to landfill. Similarly, download Olio to find surplus food in your neighbourhood from friends and businesses, and you might stumble across your ideal post-workout snack for free!

5. Sustainability Can Be Social Too!

a. Runforcharity 

Here at Glorious, Sunday = run-day! Why not liven up your solo weekend run by signing up to community charity events and help to raise funds and awareness for great causes. Visit Run for Charity (runforcharity.com) to find all kinds of charity running events near you, whether you’re a 10k aficionado or just in it for the fun(run). With sponsored runs happening all over the country every weekend, charity events are a great chance to address social sustainability issues such as child welfare, homelessness or disaster relief, all just by doing your weekly jog. Sign up now and feel extra good from getting your hit of endorphins!

And remember, no one can do it all! Even making one change from this guide is a step towards building a more sustainable fitness routine.

Happy (eco-)workouts!

Sign up for a community fun run.

N.B. Glorious is not affiliated with these companies. We are not sponsored by them and do not receive any monetary gain from featuring them!

Editorial Design by this is root

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