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The Lowest Carbon Footprint for Green Fitness: Two Feet

Editor's Message: Study showed that machines don't necessarily inspire people to workout. Having an achievable goal, with a supportive network and frequent positive feedback are motivating factors for many to kickoff the exercise habit. (Exercise Motivation: What Starts and Keeps People Exercising? By Len Kravitz, Ph.D.) To turn exercising into a long-term commitment, it is important to find an easily accessible exercise arrangement. And what is more convenient than our own bodies? Whether you choose to enjoy the great outdoors or try out the variety of classes at your local gym, have a blast with your own feet!


It was in a room that was no longer used by the child who once occupied it. Adorned with tossed away clothes, a few books on its walking area, a basket hanging from one of its once-upon-a-time state-of-the-art handles, the treadmill looked forlorn, out of place.  The owners' intentions to get fit no matter what the weather - now forgotten. How many homes have treadmills, elliptical machines and weights that are no longer used? Craigslist can give you an idea.

More and more people are looking for ways to go green - including going green with their fitness.  Whether or not you believe in global warming, to streamline and get rid of unused equipment is reason enough to go green.

Fitness centers are touting their ‘greenness' with bamboo floors, remanufactured machines, green drinks, and green washing machines. That's a great start and just right for some. However, I feel that getting on a machine and watching a TV or reading a book while you ‘exercise' means you're not in your body. You might as well send your body out to the cleaners and pick it up afterwards. (Hopefully, it's a green cleaners.)


If you really want to reduce your carbon foot print even more to get fit, what about using just your body? You can find dance classes and yoga classes throughout the Puget Sound area that require yourself, maybe a pair of shoes or a mat. You're making a CO2 reduction. Of course, you'll have to count the gas to get to the studio, the electricity to heat the place, but that's OK. The reduction counts.There's also another form of exercise (and I use that term only as a reference point) that requires your body and your two feet - and that's Nia. The co-creators of Nia, Debbie Rosas Stewart and Carlos AyaRosas, had no idea how green Nia was when they began the original fusion fitness class in 1983. They were too busy teaching people to engage their bodies and life force energy by moving to great music while listening to their senses.

Nia draws from the disciplines of the martial arts, dance arts and healing arts and is an hour-long fitness class done to soul-stirring music in bare feet. Every class offers a unique combination of 52 moves that correspond with the main areas of the body: the base, the core and the upper extremities. Stiff beginners to highly fit athletes can adapt Nia to meet their needs by choosing from three intensity levels. Nia encourages participants to be present in their bodies through sensation - to learn to love their bodies and to choose pleasure over pain. Nia has a low carbon footprint even when you include the gas to get to the studio and electricity to power the music.

Not only is Nia sustainable, it is natural and adaptable for any fitness level, every age and type of body, even those with special limitations. The practice conditions all muscle groups, is easy on the joints and helps create more flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability in the body while teaching you to become more aware and move with consciousness. This can also positively affect other fitness activities like cycling, swimming or running as well as every day activities such as washing a car, buying groceries, chasing kids or walking the dog. Nia has even proven to aid with health conditions such as arthritis, asthma, depression, pregnancy and more by reducing stress, sharpening the mind and creating more fluidity through the joy of movement.

The mild weather in the west coast also allows for many outdoor activities throughout the year. Your options for a satisfying workout that fully engages your body are endless here. So pick up your snickers today. Enjoy the time for yourself and your body while reducing your carbon footprint!

Sarah Love is a certified blue belt Nia instructor and has been teaching the low carbon footprint wellness fitness practice since 2002. Nia is taught around the world in 45 countries and throughout the Puget Sound. You can find over 80 classes at Nia Seattle.


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