Many people aspire to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible, and regular exercise is an essential component of such a lifestyle. 

One of the hidden benefits to regular exercise is that it presents numerous opportunities to benefit the planet. Going green with a fitness routine can create a healthier planet, which can only benefit fitness enthusiasts and their families in the long run. Creating a fitness routine that benefits people and the planet is simple and can even make workouts more rewarding.

• Walk, run or ride to the gym. Many people get the bulk, if not the entirety, of their exercise at a gym. For those who live outside of major cities, that likely involves driving to and from a gym before and after workouts. Instead of driving, consider walking, running or riding to the gym. Each option provides great cardiovascular exercise that can reduce or replace the time people spend on treadmills or elliptical machines. And cutting back on driving reduces fuel consumption and auto emissions, greatly benefitting the planet.

• Exercise in the great outdoors. Fitness enthusiasts can reduce their energy consumption by exercising outdoors whenever possible. Replace running in place on a treadmill with running through a park or on a beach outside. Men and women who work out in their homes can take the free weights outdoors to the backyard on nice days, allowing Mother Nature instead of the electric company to supply the lighting.

• Join gyms that offer eco-friendly exercise equipment. More and more gyms are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprints, and eco-friendly fitness enthusiasts can look for such facilities before purchasing or renewing their gym memberships. Some efforts gym owners make to reduce the carbon footprint of their facilities include using only eco-friendly, biodegradable cleaning products; installing low-flow toilets, faucets and shower heads in facility restrooms and bathing areas; and installing user-powered cardiovascular machinery that consume considerably less energy than traditional machines. Inquire about a facility’s carbon footprint before purchasing a membership.

• Purchase eco-friendly accessories. Another way to make a fitness routine more environmentally friendly is to purchase workout accessories that do not have large carbon footprints. Instead of single-use plastic water bottles, purchase a reusable water bottle made of recycled materials. In addition, opt for workout gear made of organic or recycled materials. Such items can be found online or at sporting goods stores or retailers that cater to outdoors enthusiasts.

Fitness enthusiasts can take various steps to make their workout routines more eco-friendly, benefitting themselves and the planet along the way.