Nothing fosters environmental awareness like spending time in nature, so organizing your running or walking routine to take advantage the outdoors is a win, win for your body, and the planet. The challenge is to take advantage of nature in a way that does not impact our local environmental in a negative way.
First, the very act of choosing to walk or run outside saves electricity you would generate at the gym, burning electricity on a treadmill or elliptical trainer, and it might even save you the cost of membership. Opting for a portable water bottle is a no-brainer, particularly one that will keep your water cool, and save your local park or state forest from an unsightly disposable bottle. Then there are the workout apparel and shoe companies starting to experiment with more eco-conscious materials. Natural rubber, plant-oil based plastics, hemp, and bamboo are options for yoga mats, exercise clothing, and even shoes.
Smaller business have grown to fill the niche not yet provided by the bigger companies in the workout space. Icebreaker provides high quality walking, running, and climbing apparel made from fine Merino wool from New Zealand. Barefoot Yoga has a variety of eco-friendly mats, like the popular natural rubber and jute fiber variety. While walking barefoot may be the lowest impact way to hike a trail, these shoes from Terra Plana always has stylish walking shoes with the latest in environmentally low impact design, and the Vivo shoes get you as close to barefoot as you can be.