Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Green Your Fitness Routine in 2011

Guest Blogger:  Victoria Slone, Stroller Strides Chicago Instructor

According to an article in the New York Times, the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That's a lot of extra "holiday cheer" for a person to gain in a one month period!!! Yikes!

Now that the holiday season is over, how about a fresh start to the new year by adding some "green" into your workout routine? By taking an environmental initiative and giving your health and the environment a clean start for 2011, you can begin the new year in a positive way that will benefit yourself, others around you, and the earth.

1. Exercise outside.
It may be tricky right now since the weather is so cold, but by hitting the great outdoors, you'll soak in the vitamin D benefit of sunshine and save on the energy used to run on the treadmill. Besides jogging and hiking, hit a Stroller Strides class!!! Not only are you using your own body weight for most of the exercises, but you're interacting with your child and connecting with other Moms which is good for the mind and body. Also, head outside with the kiddos and take advantage of calorie-burning winter activities such as sledding, shoveling or building a snowman. If the rain/snow & cold weather keeps you in, rent or borrow an exercise DVD from the library or buy a used one at a garage sale or search on Craigslist.

2. Buy an eco friendly yoga mat.
Yoga mats are made of materials such as natural rubber, plastic, PVC or latex, and most yoga mats are recyclable. Only use your mat for Stroller Strides classes or are you an at-home yoga practitioner looking to get rid of your existing mat? Recycle Your Mat has mail-in programs for all types of mats as well. After you've donated/recycled yours and are in the market for a new mat, look for mats made of biodegradable and recyclable materials. Sunshine Yoga has a great list of eco-friendly mats at affordable prices.

3. Go with organic workout attire.
Organic cotton uses agricultural methods designed to help sustain the land it grows on and the people who harvest it, helping to reduce the toxic pesticides used to make conventional cotton. Gaiam Fitness Wear is one option for finding organic workout clothes that are comfy, sustainable, functional and lets not forget........cute! You might pay a little more for organic items but saving mother earth will be worth your efforts. When you are done with your clothes why not recycle them by donating to a thrift store, shelter or church rummage sale. You can also check out the Stroller Strides shop for organic and sustainable gear as well!

4. Buy a reusable water bottle.
Americans buy an estimated 29.8 billion plastic water bottles every year, and nearly eight out of every 10 bottles will end up in a landfill. Try toting along a reusable bottle to your next workout session. Refilling the bottle with water will save tons of money and waste. Also, make sure the bottle you are using is BPA FREE! If you occasionally forget your reusable bottle and have to purchase a plastic bottle, make sure you recycle it. There is an amazing documentary entitled, "Tapped," that was incredibly informative and really opened my eyes to the bottled water industry. Interested? Check it out here: Tapped the Movie

5. Eco-Friendly Running Shoes
Today, even big name fitness companies are getting the message that staying fit is part of an overall lifestyle. It's a lifestyle that takes into account, not only physical health, but the overall health of the environment. There are several companies jumping on board and now making sneakers with post-consumer recycled materials, bamboo shank, cork mid-sole, bamboo/canvas uppers, and crepe toe guard, and 40% post consumer recycled rubber out-sole. You can find recycled gym shoes at Zappos. You can even recycle your old running shoes at Recycled Runners and Run The Planet.

6. Eat Organic
It's best to eat organically grown food, whether or not you're a vegan/vegetarian, and it's worth going to some trouble to get it. Organic food tastes better, is generally more nutritious, & protects the environment! Get an energy boost with organic cereal/granola bars, or try a homemade smoothie by mixing organic yogurt, orange juice and fruit together in a blender.

7.Try Natural Deodorants
Many deodorants contain harmful ingredients such as aluminum and formaldehyde, so freshen up after your workout by using deodorants made from all natural plant-based ingredients. And don't worry, you're not alone if you sweat while wearing an all natural deodorant. That's supposed to happen! Sweating is our bodies natural way of getting rid of the toxins in it. If you block the sweat glands from doing their job, where do the toxins go? Right back in your body :( My company, Lotions & Potions, has two types of natural deodorant available, Rosemary Mint or Tea Tree that are great at combating odor. They are free of aluminum, formaldehyde, parabens & bactericides which have all been linked to the increase in breast cancer rates. Whichever brand you decide to go with, make sure that the product is organic and certified "cruelty-free" to prove that it has not been tested on animals.
You may not think that a few simple actions can help you lose weight, stay fit andreduce your carbon footprint at the same time, but if you follow these tips you'll be well on your way to a green exercise routine!! Here's to a green 2011!!

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