Monday, February 18, 2013

Why I think every trainer should be environmentally conscious

Find more cool vintage images here.
Sometimes thinking green can make my head explode. Buying local, reducing my carbon foot print, being a conscientious consumer, it's enough to make me want to just curl up and pull humanely-produced wool over my eyes. Wait, maybe I should go with fleece, since it's made from recycled plastic bottles?

Oh the dilemmas. But at least I'm thinking about it, right? I'm no eco-saint, and those who are can be boring and/or fanatical. We can't do it all, but we can all do a small part to be more green.  That's why I say every trainer should be environmentally conscious, and impart that to her clients.

Think about it. Are we just trying to get in shape so we can just sit inside, or do we want to feel strong and powerful so we can climb Mt Hood, kayak the Willamette, or windsurf the Columbia? Even if you don't have that grand of plans, we should be taking care of ourselves so we can take care of our beautiful world. We've lost touch with our green spaces because exercise has become something that we pay to do, at a certain location, at particular time/day of the week, rather than as a part of our everyday lifestyles. If we started blending our exercise options with our efforts to live a kinder-to-the-planet lifestyle, we could save time, money, resources, even lives. Of course, Madison Avenue doesn't want you to think that way. How can they sell you the latest gadget, pill, or gym membership if you simply ride your bike to work, run outdoors, eat a healthy diet, and grow your own food?!
Beautiful Crystal Springs Rhody Garden.

This topic got me perusing around the internet and here are some relevant stats I found. (I started this post eons ago so a lot of the links I had have been cut. Sorry for not having my sources.)
  • It takes 31 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of steel; 2,072 gallons of water to produce 4 tires; and 15,000 cups of water to make a six pack of soda
  • Commute by bike 4 miles, 4 days a week could save you 54 gallons of gas annually. 
  • The U.S. uses about half of the world's gasoline.
  • 90% of children who lived within a mile of their school walked or biked to school in the 1960's. Less than 30% do so today. 
  • Biking just 10 minutes a day for a year could burn off 10 lbs of body weight
  • And since I'm a crafter, I thought you might like to know that in 2009 Americans spent $4,000,000,000 (that's billion) on scrapbooking supplies. (I find this ironic --its' called scrapbooking people--and wasteful. No offense scrap bookers!)
  • For every ton of paper that is recycled 17 trees are saved 
  • Only 5% of the energy drawn through a charger is actually used to charge a phone, iPad, etc. (Unplug that charger when not actually charging your device.)
  • Consider how many resources go into creating a weight room at the gym: steel for weights, plates and machinery; shipping it from China to your gym; the electricity to power the lights, treadmills and ellipticals, A/C, TVs
I bet if you told people 100 years ago that in the future people would drive a horseless-buggy to a building to walk on a conveyor belt and stare outside the window, and pay good money to do it, they'd think you were crazy. So, here a few green ways to shape up.
  • If you just can't give up your gym workouts, then bike or jog to the gym instead of driving. This will save you time because you can skip the dreaded treadmill for the real thing!
  • Bike to work. I'm happily living in one of the most pedestrian and bike-friendly towns in America (Portland, OR). Look around your town for routes that are less traveled by cars, or bus+bike it if you have to bus through busier areas and bike in safer ones.
  • Walk or bike to school with your kids! We've become a country a scaredy cats, worrying about abductions, but there is safety in numbers. The more we get our kids outside, playing and commuting together the better. Take turns with other parents in your area. (This concept applies to the obesity epidemic too, but that's for another day…)
  • If you like walking on the treadmill, using the stair stepper or taking a spinning class, take it outside! Just about every machine at the gym simulates are real life activity. The added perk is you'll burn more calories outdoors, because the machines are actually easier than the real thing!
  • Just say no to disposable water bottles, please! Why people pay up to 4000 percent mark up for bottled water and shipped from another city to our grocery stores is beyond me.
  • Use your surroundings and your body as your gym. Did you think I wouldn't plug my whole concept of Take It Outside Fitness?! Tricep dips on a bench, push ups on the ground, lunges, curb step ups, pull ups on monkey bars, incline crunches on the see saw…there are tons of options just outside your door or in your neighborhood park. Don't know what to do? Then call me!

OK, I'll step off my soap box now. But all I'm trying to say is, the more we think about greening up our lives the better our health, community and environment can be. It's really pretty simple. What about you? Do you have ways to be gentler on the planet? Are you a trainer trying to help people live healthier lives in green ways? 

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