Nature’s Green Gyms

green gymsEver been pedaling or plodding away on one of those new, high tech exercise machines either at your gym or in your basement and watching all those electronic displays provide some non-sensible information?   The machines at my gym report out Mets along with a host of other supposedly helpful measures.

Why does my trend mill display Mets anyway?


We just learned that this is the energy required for essential physiological functioning after 8 hours sleep and 12 hours fasting.  So swimming is measured at  8 MET, which means you use eight times more energy than if you were to lie down and rest.  OK, back to fossil fuel energy conservation.

My gym has all the typical energy hungry basic machines – nothing inspirational as I watch all that energy I’m producing vaporize away.  Nothing to capture what we’re generating.




No solar panels or hot water panels to outset all those lights, air circulation, TV monitors, air conditioning, and terrible music.

But more and more gyms are taking energy efficiency more seriously.


The Green Microgym in Portland, Oregon, generates as much as 36 percent of its energy from solar panels and human-powered generators attached to stationary bikes and ellipticals. The Portland gym saved 37,000 kilowatt-hours in 2009 through its use of human and solar power and other energy-saving measures.

The New York Times recently reported on some interesting development in greener gyms.

There’s even a system you attach to your indoor bike platform to generate power.

From a carbon footprint reduction perspective.




Where Can I Find A Green Gym?

1) Join a gym instead of creating your own home fitness center –  Its more efficient to share machinery with others than for everyone to have his/her personal machine.  It takes a lot of energy mining, molding, transporting all the parts that go into a personal machine.  It’s called embodied the energy and the more its used in its functional lifetime – the greener.

2) Suggest to your club’s management that they take meaningful strides in making your club more efficient and purchase some prototype energy-capturing machines.  Or suggest that they install solar water heaters or solar panels on the roof or dial back the thermostat one degree – no one will notice.

3) Exercise outdoors frequently – Asians as a culture use their public parks to individually exercise and the national pastime of Germany is hiking – they have more hiking trails per capita than any other country.

You can’t beat the energy efficiency and greenness of exercising with Mother Nature.  An investment in a few waterproof, perspiration whisking, warm high-tech clothing goes a longer way, longer that all that energy consumed powering those overhead fluorescent lights.

Read these on other green living articles on Green Blizzard are: Vampire Electricity, Less Meat Means Less Carbon, White Roofs, and Japan’s Energy Diet.

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About the author

Keith Blizzard

A life-long environmentalist, Keith set out on the never ending journey of adjusting his lifestyle to a more sustainable one, with a goal of annually shrinking his carbon footprint. When he looked around for a dependable source of meaningful carbon footprint reduction ideas, it was pretty lame - so he launched Green Blizzard loaded with eco-friendly lifestyle tweaks. When he's not managing Green Blizzard, you'll find him on the trails around Mid Coast Maine with his trusty trail companion mutt, Moose.