Stop Exercising, Start Eco-cising

Stop Exercising, Start Eco-cising

Get a healthy start this spring with a greener workout.
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Stop Exercising, Start Eco-cising
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - 1:52pm


Get a healthy start this spring with a greener workout.

Aaaack! It’s coming! It’s out there, looming! Bathing suit season! Arrrgh!

Yes, ladies and gents it’s upon us again, that most dreaded season of all, the annual winter-uncover-up. The time of year when we all take a long hard look in the mirror and realize that in just a few short months we won’t be — gulp — wearing parkas and sweaters anymore.

What to do? Give up stew and get in shape, of course. But just because you’re trying to improve your health is no reason to contribute to the un-health of the planet. So instead of burning up gas driving to the gym, why not eco-cise? You can do the planet some good while you try to fit into that teeny-bikini. You won’t just save on fuel, you’ll also save on overall electricity usage and water consumption, too.

Take your class outside.
If you take a yoga, Tai Chi or mat pilates class at the gym, why not take your workout to the park or even your backyard instead? Exercising outside may enhance your experience by allowing you to meditate within your natural surroundings. You don’t need anything fancy, just a mat. If you don’t like the idea of exercising alone, start your own eco-cise group. Meet at a specific time and place several times a week. Make it even greener by biking or walking to the park instead of driving. Or, if you’re not the organizer type, check out local websites and newspapers for outdoor class info. Many organizations now sponsor outdoor fitness classes, everything from yoga, to kick-boxing and Krav Maga.

Get out there.
Walking is one of the best exercises around. It strengthens your heart, increases lung capacity and improves your mood. But instead of burning electricity as you walk to nowhere on the treadmill, take a walk in the great outdoors. Check out the beauty of your neighborhood, window shop in the city or hike in the woods. Feel like you’re to busy to get a walk in? Take your cell phone with you and conference while you walk. But if you feel like you must be connected to your phone, fax, TV or assistant, and just can’t get away, at least consider an energy neutral device like the NordicTrack CX 1600. It has all the bells and whistles you’d want, but the battery is recharged by your own steps.

No spin zone.
Whoever coined the term “spinning” may be a marketing genius, but deserves to be in the eco-hall-of-shame. All that peddling and where do you end up? Nowhere. Seems pointless. Why not get on an actual bike and see the sights while you firm up. If you don’t like to be alone while you eco-spin, start a bike club. Get your friends and family in on the action a few times a week and bike together. 

Chances are you have an old bike gathering dust in your garage. But if not, bikes don’t have to be expensive. Check out your local thrift store, or look through the wanted section of your local newspaper to find gently used bikes at good prices. Or look for deals at, an online recycling and barter website.

If you still can’t get away from the idea of spinning in front of your TV, then try the Schwinn IC Pro Indoor Cycling Bike. Traditional and functional, it uses no electricity. It comes complete with a resistance adjustment knob, adjustable seat, and adjustable leveling feet for sturdiness.

Rowing nowhere.
The person who invented this device was, at least to my mind, someone who was not easily bored. All that work and all you see is the behind of the person on the stair-climber in front of you. Why not get in a boat and actually row. You’ll see beautiful scenery, de-stress your mind and get a chance to commune with nature. Plus, you get the satisfaction of going somewhere real, not just counting off the minutes until you’ve burned off that chocolate cupcake you ate for breakfast.

If you’re not lucky enough to own a boat, you can usually rent one at a park or lake near your home. You might also try a peddle-boat or even punting, like the gondoliers in Venice, Italy.

If you’re near the beach, the opportunities for water fun are almost endless. Try wind-surfing, or maybe even swimming the way nature intended—without chlorine. If you live near fresh water, you can row your way out, drop a fishing line and relax while you’re waiting for a bite.

If you still can’t bear to be outdoors, or if you’re truly allergic to mosquitoes, try the WaterRower Natural Rowing Machine. As you row, water pumps through the machine to create natural feeling resistance.

And while you’re at it, ditch the plastic water bottle and grab an eco-friendly one like Clean Air Gardening’s Reusable Water Bottle with Insulator. It comes in several mod color combos, has a carrying strap and a front pocket for your stuff. Plus, the insulated cover will keep your water cool for hours.

So why not do yourself and the planet a favor and green your workout this spring. You’ll breathe a little easier knowing that you—and the planet—are a little healthier because of it. is dedicated to our users. We focus our attention on changing the world through recycling, waste-to-energy and conservation. We reward our users for their sustainable behaviors on our website, through our Greenopolis Tracking Stations and with curbside recycling programs.