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How to make your workout greener

How to make your workout greener

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Let’s take a closer look at how we can be more eco-friendly when choosing workout gear.

Let’s take a closer look at how we can be more eco-friendly when choosing workout gear.

How to make your workout greener
While we went through different levels of lockdown this past year, it made us think more deeply about our impact on the environment. Wasn’t nature beginning to heal itself as we disappeared into our homes and reduced our carbon footprint?

We cut down on flights, reduced the number of trips to and from work, and bought reusable bags to carry our fruit and veg from our grocery runs – but did we also look at whether our new wellness habits might also be counteracting our efforts?

New workout gear to help keep up those new year’s resolutions? Tick. New water bottle to stay hydrated on hikes on the weekend? Tick. Improve that yoga move with a block? Tick. Cancel gym subscription but set something up at home? Tick. More waste? Tick.

Whether you down dog, bottom turn, breaststroke or burpee to keep fit, let’s take a closer look at how we can make more eco-friendly and local choices whichever exercise we choose.

Hiking and running

Hiking and walking trails have become the new mall run and besides being better for your health beyond sucking in that fresh air and clocking a cardio workout, they help keep your mind sharp. Navigating rocks, hanging branches and route markers is said to exercise "the restrosplenial cortex and the hippocampus" to improve memory.  

When you’re on the trot though, besides comfortable shoes, sunscreen and a hat, you’re going to need to carry enough water. Instead of grabbing a plastic bottle at the petrol station on the way to the starting point, invest in one that you can safely re-use. The Cape Town-based guys at Sealand who make up-cycled products from sails and billboards have collaborated with Klean Kanteen to create reusable water bottles that “keep drinks hot for eight hours and iced for 24 hours” and are made from non-toxic insulated stainless steel. No more tripping over litter.

Saloman has a 100% recyclable running shoe but we’ll have to wait a while to add it to our shopping cart. In the meantime, check out their Tech Lite outdoor breathable sneaker with a liner produced from coffee beans and partly recycled laces and upper. Besides city sightseeing, it’s made for gentle hikes too. This brand’s not made in South Africa but they’ve built a special e-commerce site for us, which makes it easier to shop.

If you’re looking for environmentally friendly options for jogging, running or just getting your 10 000 steps a day, but at home, there are treadmills and bikes that use your exertion to help power up your machine of choice and return the energy you generate back into the grid. Proudly local fitness company, Eco Fitness has a couple of options you can try that also only draw a small amount of electricity when in use.

Surfing and swimming

There are so many benefits of training your limbs in water. It gets your heart rate up with less impact on your joints, helps burn fat (because water adds resistance as you move through it) and gives you more mobility.

When it comes to getting kitted out, this is where brands seem to be making the biggest strides to help protect the environment. From boards and wetsuits to costumes and trunks, these are some products made here at home.

Local surfer John McCarthy has replaced the nasty stuff boards are usually made from, like “polyurethane foam, fibre glass and polyester resin," with a mix of Agave wood, hemp cloth, bio resins, flax and bamboo, in his The Greener Surfer products. Similarly, Frank Oberholzer and Chippa Wiiliams in Kwa-Zulu Natal have combined “hemp cloth, carbon, and Supasap bio resin to produce stronger, more durable and far less toxic surfboards”.

In the other surfing capital, Cape Town brand Atlas Label make their wetsuits entirely from limestone neoprene instead of using petroleum-based materials. Even though the limestone version isn’t necessarily greener to produce because a lot of heat is still used to make it, it is more flexible, impermeable, warmer and windproof than the traditional neoprene so less material needs to be used. Plus, producing petroleum not only speeds up climate change but the toxic gasses released when it’s processed, may cause cancer.

If you’re not a surfer and looking for a trunk or a costume that you can train in the water in but that still does less to endanger the environment, you have a few options. Chasing Bees make swim shorts with locally sourced materials to lower their carbon footprint and also give a percentage of their profits to Ujubee, an organisation that protects bees. These three brands make costumes and packaging from biodegradable, recyclable and/or sustainable materials and energy-saving manufacturing, using harm free dyes and/or ensuring fair labour practice – Asha Eleven, Akina and January and June.

Yoga and pilates

They say that stretching and breathing not only helps keep anxiety at bay but also slows down ageing. A good reason to perfect your crow pose.

Whether you’re a yogi looking to replace old workout gear or need to get fitness gear from scratch, look out for brands like Boody, for ethically sourced, 100% organically grown bamboo-made garments. Boody is from Australia but like Saloman, they’ve made ordering easy for South Africans with a dedicated e-commerce site. They also ship most of their items by boat, which has a lower environmental impact than air freight.

Get your latex, PVC, and other toxic materials-free, fully biodegradable and recyclable mats at places like Mocana and Wellness Warehouse. Desha makes a simply designed yoga block made from cork.

Anything else?

Don’t forget about that sunscreen and hat you use to protect your skin from the sun. Faithful to Nature has a few products that are safer for the oceans, not tested on animals and use plant dyes instead of harmful chemicals.

What you put on your body is as important as what you put in. Consider cleaner eating too for a holistically green workout.

While we went through different levels of lockdown this past year, it made us think more deeply about our impact on the environment. Wasn’t nature beginning to heal itself as we disappeared into our homes and reduced our carbon footprint?

We cut down on flights, reduced the number of trips to and from work, and bought reusable bags to carry our fruit and veg from our grocery runs – but did we also look at whether our new wellness habits might also be counteracting our efforts?

New workout gear to help keep up those new year’s resolutions? Tick. New water bottle to stay hydrated on hikes on the weekend? Tick. Improve that yoga move with a block? Tick. Cancel gym subscription but set something up at home? Tick. More waste? Tick.

Whether you down dog, bottom turn, breaststroke or burpee to keep fit, let’s take a closer look at how we can make more eco-friendly and local choices whichever exercise we choose.

Hiking and running

Hiking and walking trails have become the new mall run and besides being better for your health beyond sucking in that fresh air and clocking a cardio workout, they help keep your mind sharp. Navigating rocks, hanging branches and route markers is said to exercise "the restrosplenial cortex and the hippocampus" to improve memory.  

When you’re on the trot though, besides comfortable shoes, sunscreen and a hat, you’re going to need to carry enough water. Instead of grabbing a plastic bottle at the petrol station on the way to the starting point, invest in one that you can safely re-use. The Cape Town-based guys at Sealand who make up-cycled products from sails and billboards have collaborated with Klean Kanteen to create reusable water bottles that “keep drinks hot for eight hours and iced for 24 hours” and are made from non-toxic insulated stainless steel. No more tripping over litter.

Saloman has a 100% recyclable running shoe but we’ll have to wait a while to add it to our shopping cart. In the meantime, check out their Tech Lite outdoor breathable sneaker with a liner produced from coffee beans and partly recycled laces and upper. Besides city sightseeing, it’s made for gentle hikes too. This brand’s not made in South Africa but they’ve built a special e-commerce site for us, which makes it easier to shop.

If you’re looking for environmentally friendly options for jogging, running or just getting your 10 000 steps a day, but at home, there are treadmills and bikes that use your exertion to help power up your machine of choice and return the energy you generate back into the grid. Proudly local fitness company, Eco Fitness has a couple of options you can try that also only draw a small amount of electricity when in use.

Surfing and swimming

There are so many benefits of training your limbs in water. It gets your heart rate up with less impact on your joints, helps burn fat (because water adds resistance as you move through it) and gives you more mobility.

When it comes to getting kitted out, this is where brands seem to be making the biggest strides to help protect the environment. From boards and wetsuits to costumes and trunks, these are some products made here at home.

Local surfer John McCarthy has replaced the nasty stuff boards are usually made from, like “polyurethane foam, fibre glass and polyester resin," with a mix of Agave wood, hemp cloth, bio resins, flax and bamboo, in his The Greener Surfer products. Similarly, Frank Oberholzer and Chippa Wiiliams in Kwa-Zulu Natal have combined “hemp cloth, carbon, and Supasap bio resin to produce stronger, more durable and far less toxic surfboards”.

In the other surfing capital, Cape Town brand Atlas Label make their wetsuits entirely from limestone neoprene instead of using petroleum-based materials. Even though the limestone version isn’t necessarily greener to produce because a lot of heat is still used to make it, it is more flexible, impermeable, warmer and windproof than the traditional neoprene so less material needs to be used. Plus, producing petroleum not only speeds up climate change but the toxic gasses released when it’s processed, may cause cancer.

If you’re not a surfer and looking for a trunk or a costume that you can train in the water in but that still does less to endanger the environment, you have a few options. Chasing Bees make swim shorts with locally sourced materials to lower their carbon footprint and also give a percentage of their profits to Ujubee, an organisation that protects bees. These three brands make costumes and packaging from biodegradable, recyclable and/or sustainable materials and energy-saving manufacturing, using harm free dyes and/or ensuring fair labour practice – Asha Eleven, Akina and January and June.

Yoga and pilates

They say that stretching and breathing not only helps keep anxiety at bay but also slows down ageing. A good reason to perfect your crow pose.

Whether you’re a yogi looking to replace old workout gear or need to get fitness gear from scratch, look out for brands like Boody, for ethically sourced, 100% organically grown bamboo-made garments. Boody is from Australia but like Saloman, they’ve made ordering easy for South Africans with a dedicated e-commerce site. They also ship most of their items by boat, which has a lower environmental impact than air freight.

Get your latex, PVC, and other toxic materials-free, fully biodegradable and recyclable mats at places like Mocana and Wellness Warehouse. Desha makes a simply designed yoga block made from cork.

Anything else?

Don’t forget about that sunscreen and hat you use to protect your skin from the sun. Faithful to Nature has a few products that are safer for the oceans, not tested on animals and use plant dyes instead of harmful chemicals.

What you put on your body is as important as what you put in. Consider cleaner eating too for a holistically green workout.

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