Gifts are easy enough to exchange. Swapping our post-holiday physique for the one we had before the copious helpings of dessert and eggnog? Not so much. And so begins the pilgrimage to the gym at the start of the year. But while January may be a great time to upgrade your daily routine — and fresh memberships are being snapped up as we speak — you don’t need to go to the gym to start on the path to fitness. Besides, many gyms are anything but eco-conscious. So, the best way to get in shape in 2023 — while living sustainably — is to begin at home. Here are some tips for doing just that:
Choose the right home equipment
You don’t have to leave the house to get a good workout. Unless you’re walking or cycling to the gym, staying put is probably the most environmentally friendly option available anyway. Before you get in shape in 2023, here are some eco-friendly fitness equipment to get you well on the way to a fitter self. Pro tip: When it comes to all these items below, we encourage you to thrift as many of these as you can.
Eco-friendly yoga mat
One of the most essential gym materials is a yoga mat. Whether you’re doing push-ups or the Downward Dog, a yoga mat is going to give you the extra padding and support you need for a successful workout. When it comes to eco-friendly yoga mats, you have some options. Manduka sells natural rubber yoga mats that are sustainably harvested. Sugamats makes theirs from recycled wetsuits. Then, another great option is the natural cork and recycled rubber yoga mat from Yoloha.
Did you know many dumbbells are coated in toxic chemicals? Avoid them by choosing eco-friendly dumbbells instead. What you need to do is skip the ones with plastic coating and make sure you read the label for a toxicity warning. We recommend cast-iron, chrome, or even marble dumbbells.
Resistance bands are excellent for strength training! Unfortunately, many are made of unsustainable materials. Look out for organic cotton and latex bands or recycled rubber ones for an eco-friendly workout at home.
For cardio machines, you want to avoid anything that plugs into the wall as this will use up excessive energy — and add to your electricity bill. SportsArt is a green fitness company with a cardio line that uses human exertion and turns it into usable electricity to power your workout. Find their ECO-POWR technology in treadmills, cross trainers, ellipticals, and others.
Find eco-friendly activewear
Part of feeling good and being eco-friendly is being more selective about what you put on your body. Our skin is our largest organ and chemicals can seep into our pores and harm us. So, choose eco-friendly workout clothes before kickstarting your new year routine.
Patagonia is a B Corp brand committed to the triple bottom line: profit, people, and planet. The company has a generous range of sustainable activewear that is Fair Trade certified and uses recycled or organic materials. We also recommend looking into brands like Tentree, which focuses on ethically made clothing using sustainable and recycled material, or Boody, which makes all of its intimates, athleisure, and activewear from bamboo viscose or organic cotton.
When it comes to running shoes, choose a pair made with recycled or sustainable materials that still provide enough support for a comfortable workout. Check out this guide to eco-friendly running shoes to get started.
Be conscious of how you wash your activewear
Here’s a top tip that’s often looked over by newcomers to sustainable living! You know those big plastic jugs of laundry detergent you see at the grocery store? They’re not sustainable in the slightest. They are heavy, largely water-based (meaning there’s unnecessary bulk when your laundry is already washed in water), and there are numerous harsh and toxic chemicals inside that vibrant-colored goo. Instead of using liquid detergent, switch to eco-friendly laundry strips to wash your activewear. They are thin enough to fit in your bag, weigh practically nothing, and have no harmful chemicals inside. And while they may not look tough enough to combat your smelliest or dirtiest of laundry, give them a go and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
A good cardio workout doesn’t require any equipment. Put on your headphones, slip on a solid pair of shoes, and hit the ground running. Make it enjoyable with music or routes through the city or a nearby park or forest. If you want more adventure, a strenuous hike with good views is always a rewarding (and heart-pounding) experience. But you don’t have to stop there; embrace your most adventurous side in 2023! From kayaking and rock climbing to skating and snowboarding, there are endless alternative ways to burn calories — no gym membership necessary. Getting in shape in 2023 doesn’t have to cost you hundreds of dollars or require dozens of materials. Find your ideal, eco-friendly workout routine and embrace a fantastic start to the new year!
Consider green gyms
And if you’re keen on joining a gym — by all means, do! But before you fork over that membership fee to get in shape in 2023, research the gym’s core values and request a trial day. Use this time to ask the right questions regarding if and how they practice sustainability at the gym. If they look at you with a confused expression, keep walking. Sustainability is probably not part of their business. That’s where green gyms come in.
At first glance, green gyms may appear roughly the same as non-eco gyms, but several factors make these workout spots more sustainable than the rest. These gyms find ways to reduce energy consumption and water usage while offering products/equipment safe for both human and planet health. This is usually some combination of using energy-efficient lighting, monitoring their air conditioning levels more consciously, using natural cleaning supplies, and avoiding non-recyclable or non-compostable materials.
Some green gyms are even equipped with those manpowered cardio machines we mentioned above. To learn more about green gyms, check out our guide here.