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Even the most environmentally conscious athletes out there can use the occasional reminder every now and then that without a healthy planet, many of us wouldn’t be able to enjoy staying active in the hidden treasures, like Rock Creek Park, throughout the District. Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you hit the mat or lace up your shoes:
#1 Invest in a Good Reusable Water Bottle
We always talk about the importance of hydration but we rarely mention the best practices for hydrating. Ditch the plastic water bottles from the store for the sake of the planet and your wallet because filling up your reusable water bottle has never been easier in D.C.! Partnering businesses with TapIt Metro D.C. lets you fill up any reusable bottle with tap water at no charge with no purchase no necessary.
#2 Don't Trash the District
There's no doubt that gels and gummies is essential during a long run or bike ride. But this simple practice of fueling your body can sometimes be detrimental to the planet! When empty wrappers of energy gels line the trails, it gives athletes a bad reputation and sends a disrespectful message to the community and to Mother Nature—we're just so much better than that! Don't forget to be respectful at races as well. Support races that score well on the Council for Responsible Sport's sustainability rankings.
When visiting a park, The National Park Service recommends that you "Leave No Trace", i.e. take nothing and leabve nothing behind. This means NO garbage - even biodegradable materials like orange peels and apple cores, as they can attract scavengers that may harm other wildlife. Additionally, "Leave No Trace" means not taking anything with you, including rocks, arrowheads, fruit, etc ..
#3 Purchase Mindfully
From eco-friendly yoga mats to eco-friendly organic cotton tees made specifically to be light and breathable, there's numerous decisions we as athletes can make that's better for the planet. Some eco-friendly products are made to last longer, too.
ALDC Featured Yogi Stacey DeGrasse of Capitol Hill Yoga prefers the KharmaKhare Reincarnated Lite.
"What do I love about this mat? For starters I love KharmaKhare's mission and strong commitment to being green. They use existing materials to create their products, preventing further waste from ending up in landfills. KharmaKhare mats are made of 100% recycled car tires! As a scientist and environmentalist, I am impressed with their effort, dedication, and smart practices that lead to the repurposing of materials into safe products.
As a yogi, there is a lot I love about the KharmaKhare Reincarnated Lite. It's only 4 lbs, which makes it not only my go-to mat when practicing around DC but also my travel mat. Despite being lite, it is still both durable and cushiony. As a yogahour teacher and practitioner, one thing I can be certain of is that I will sweat during practice. I have found the KharmaKhare Reincarnated Lite to be perfect for this kind of practice. The mat provides great grip and never turns into a slip-n-slide during a sweaty practice. This means that I no longer need to use mat towels for each and every practice, which translates into much less laundry and less water usage. This mat is easy to clean with natural and organic cleaners. For more information about KharmaKhare and their yoga mats, please visit their webpage:
Stacy on her KharmaKhare Reincarnated Lite.
#4 Recycle Your Running Shoes
Running stores, including Pacers, Potomac River Running, Nike Georgetown and City Sports, offer a recycling shoe program that donates old running shoes or recycles the material that's later grinded up for a synthetic surface like tracks and sport courts.
#5 Get Out There
Getting out in nature is one of the best ways to 'go green!' You'll be reminded why it's so important to be a green athlete and you'll sorround yourself with others that hold the same environmentally conscious values. The more athletes approach exercise in nature as a privilege rather than a right, we'll be treating the trails we run on the way they deserve to be treated.
If you are an avid user of Rock Creek Park, you may want to consider joining the Rock Creek Park Conservancy and their efforts to keep the park clean. The group will be hosting their extreme cleanup on April 11.
Share your tips/ideas for being a greener athlete below!