Is there something more to that hamster wheel?

1
hamster wheel

Who hasn’t laughed at a cartoon or commercial of a hamster running on a wheel to generate electricity?  The idea that motion or kinetic energy could be a source of electricity seems more like fodder for science experiments, not something as basic as exercise.

Are exercisers wasting an opportunity to be more environmentally friendly by writing off this concept?  I think they’re wasting energy while they’re worrying about wasting energy.

There have been many advances in fitness equipment, from more biomechanically correct design of an elliptical to shoes with Bluetooth and sensor technology to monitor your workout.  Fitness is becoming smarter by the millisecond, but what about the impact on the environment?

According to a research project completed at the University of California, Berkeley at its Recreational Sports Facility, an elliptical machine only uses about 15W to provide a sufficient workout, while a treadmill may use up to 2.2 KW for the same one-hour workout.  At a time when energy conservation is paramount, if there was a way to cancel out some of this consumption and it didn’t inconvenience the exerciser in any way, why not give it a try?

Today, there are green fitness options that can actually generate power using the exerciser’s kinetic energy and immediately send it back into the electrical grid.

Think about it this way: many of you have already transitioned to using more energy efficient light bulbs across the house. This concept is even simpler for those that use exercise equipment since it requires no change on your part at all. It’s kind of like a buy one, get one free sale. You know you’re going to feel good after exercising, why not feel even better knowing you’ve done something to actively help the environment?

In my next post, we’ll look at some of the considerations gym owners, managers and consumers need to think about when exercising sustainably.