What is a human powered gym?

Many of us feel that we need to do more to protect the environment.

The chances are that you probably already participate in behaviours that try to minimise your impact on the world around you: recycling regularly, taking public transport, opting for paperless billing or driving an electric car. 

You may be part of a company with an environmental corporate social responsibility policy.

But you might be surprised to hear that the fitness industry is looking to reduce its carbon footprint, too.  Eco-friendly gym equipment is becoming more popular with everything from bamboo yoga mats to electricity generating spin bikes.

That second one is important because eco-friendly gym equipment is going to become more important to gym members and prospective gym members in the future.

It makes sense.

If you’re interested in making conscientious buying decisions about products and services, companies and campaigns, then it’s very likely you’ll make more ethical decisions for your fitness, too.

And we know that younger people are willing to pay more in order to buy more socially responsible products.

If you own a gym or if you’re thinking of opening one up in the future, then you should look into clean-energy generating gym equipment.

Because gym power doesn’t just come from a socket in the wall; it comes from people, too.

By harnessing wasted human energy during a workout, gyms can generate clean electricity to power their premises.

A renewable energy gym powered by its members with any excess going into the grid to power homes in the neighbourhood.

Don’t worry, we’re not advocating Matrix-style human battery farms. Gym users get the workout they want but they’ll also have the added incentive of seeing their calorie burn turn into kilowatts. 

Find out more about Energym technology here

Energym has also developed an app that incentivises that clean-energy generation with rewards that can be purchased in an online marketplace.

It’s win-win gym power:  the user gets a great workout and the chance to work towards tangible rewards, the gym owner gets massively reduced electricity bills, and we don’t have to burn fossil fuels and harm the environment in order to do it.

How can exercise equipment generate electricity?

When we workout we expend energy.

At the moment, that energy is wasted; it does nothing but what if there was a way to take that energy and send it to a battery?  What if the power in that battery could be turned into the electricity that can power not just the gym itself but the neighbourhood, too?

Energym can install its battery system as new or retrofit the technology into existing equipment, so any gym can become a human powered gym without the need to buy brand new kit.

If you’d like to find out more about what we’re doing or if you’d like a demonstration, get in touch.

What are the benefits of power generating exercise equipment?

It’s easy to talk about the environmental benefits; they’re obvious.

We all know how bad fossil fuels are and how we can no longer rely on them in good faith.  As a business, you may not be aware of the Government’s commitment to a carbon-neutral society by 2040. It’s better to be ahead of this than broadsided by it later on.

Not ready for to be a sustainable gym?  There are ways you can make your business eco-friendly.

It’s easy to think, too, that green marketing and adopting eco-friendly business practices will be expensive or inconvenient.  We have to be realistic: it’s a tough economy and many business owners, gym owners included, don’t always have the spare cash to invest in eco-friendly gym equipment or to find energy generating gym equipment for sale.

But you shouldn’t let short-termism ruin your chance to reduce energy bills and establish your gyms unique selling point.

A gym that generates electricity doesn’t just help save the planet, it helps saves money, too. 

Power generating exercise equipment is the future of the gym, and we’d love to talk more about it with you. 

Drop us a message to find out how your business could benefit from Energym clean-energy technology.

Climate Change and the Threat to UK and International Sport

Climate Change and the Threat to UK and International Sport

The more obvious signs of climate change are happening thousands of miles from where we live: the deforestation in the Amazon and the melting permafrost in Siberia, for example. 

Australia’s bushfires happened in another time zone.

Whilst many of us are horrified, saddened or angry to see the devastation, it can feel like someone else’s problem.  

We can empathise but we often can’t imagine that something like that could happen here.

That could be about to change.

It’s hard to imagine what the melting of icecaps will mean for someone in Birmingham but what about when our favourite sporting events become affected?

Rain Affects Play

You’d have been hard-pressed in 2019 to imagine a scenario where thousands of global sporting events and fixtures were cancelled.

COVID-19 has seen the 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed along with the European football championships, and Wimbledon.

The disruption to the sporting calendar is unprecedented but it’s unlikely to end with COVID-19.  We’re already seeing signs that the sports we love are under threat.

According to the BBC, by 2050 1 in 4 English football league clubs can expect to have their grounds flooded at least once a year.  This disrupts fixtures and hurts a club’s income.

The article also points to the number of golf courses at risk from coastal erosion including the 450-year old Montrose course in Scotland which loses around 2-meters of course each year to the sea.

Reuters reported on a study released back in 2018, that said the UK’s proximity to the Atlantic what a part of the problem.  Coastal golf courses are particularly at risk because of ‘storm surges and a rise in sea levels, caused by a melt of ice from Greenland to the Himalayas’.

Cricket stands to be one of the sports hardest hit by climate change.  Rain-affected matches have doubled since 2011 and since 2000, 27% of matches have seen reduced overs played.  Speaking to The Cricketeer back in 2018, Dan Cherry, said:

“It’s simple: the less cricket we play at every level the fewer people will watch it, the less they will come to the ground and pay to enter, the less chance there is for young people to be inspired to take up the game.”

And it’s not just rain.  A Japanese typhoon in 2019 took out some of the Rugby World Cup Fixtures.  Australian bushfires at the start of 2020 affected the Australian Open.  The Scottish ski industry could collapse within 50-years because of a lack of snow.

No Snow, No Go

Research by the University of Waterloo found that only 8 previous hosts of the Winter Olympics would be able to host the games again.  Time Magazine adds that before the 1960s the average temperature during the Olympics had risen from around 33 degrees Fahrenheit to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

With global temperatures rising, we’ll likely see outdoor sports being played indoors. Stadiums may have to be designed in a way that they’re kept at temperature-controlled levels.

Olympic hosts may be chosen more on the average temperature of their nominated cities than by anything else.

Whilst cricket in England and Wales may be rained off more frequently, in places like India and Australia, the higher temperatures may pose a threat to players’ lives.  The BBC adds ‘venues in Adelaide and Perth will see a 60% increase in days with temperatures over 40C over the next decade’.

Climate Change Affects Exercise

You don’t have to be an athlete or a professional sports fan to feel the effect of climate change on fitness.

If you exercise regularly, then you may also find your favourite activities affected by climate change. Bustle reported that Nike has teamed up with Climate Change Lab to explore how climate change is affecting fitness and exercise.

They found that temperature plays a key role in determining whether marathon runners clock their fastest times: their speed reduces when the outdoor temperature rises.

It’s as true for amateur runners as much as the professionals: you won’t be able to smash those personal bests when the mercury is so high.  Warmer temperatures also mean you have a smaller timeframe in which to workout.  At the moment, we’re told to avoid being out during the hottest part of the day (often 12 pm until 3pm), but that could have to be extended.  This may make it more difficult to exercise outdoors if you have a busy day job.

It’s not just those of us inside, either. In the UK, we’re not as well prepared for extreme heat. Our buildings are designed to keep the warm air inside.  Your gym may not be able to install the level of air conditioning required to keep you cool during your workout.  An increase in operating costs may be reflected in your membership, too.

One solution for gym owners would be installing clean-energy generating gym equipment so that human-power could provide free electricity.  This could help offset energy costs.

Outdoor runners, walkers and cyclists will also find that they’re inhaling more polluted air than may be safe. Air quality levels in urban areas are declining largely due to traffic.

Hot weather can put a real strain on the human body.  It makes those with health conditions vulnerable but it can also mean that fit and healthy people can develop heat-related health issues.  There have been several cases of even high-profile athletes dying from complications related to heatstroke.

We also have to remember that most gyms are in urban areas.  Urban areas suffer from urban heat island effect where the building materials and infrastructure create literal hot spots which could be up to 5 degrees hotter than the surrounding areas.  

Get on Your Bike for World Bicycle Week

Get on Your Bike for World Bicycle Week

There’s been a boom in bike sales since the UK entered lockdown back in March.  Bike chain Halfords has reported a 23% jump in shares as more of us take to two wheels as a means of exercising and commuting safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It would be great to see people continuing to cycle post-lockdown.  Many of us will have forgotten the sense of freedom and joy of riding through neighbourhoods, along country lanes and alongside rivers the way we did as children. 

Whether you’re an age-old biker or a reluctant newbie, there’s never been a better time to start cycling.  COVID-19 has put the brakes on many celebrations in 2020 but there are two dates to put into your calendar for June: World Bicycle Day is June 3rd and Bike Week is running between June 6thand 14th. 

For Bike Week, Cycling UK along with Cycling Scotland has put together several activities that you can participate in whilst respecting social distancing measures. 

Why is Cycling Good for Us?

Cycling is great for beginners. 

Most people will have mastered the basic skills as children.   

It’s worth brushing up on your bike safety skills, but the actual act of riding a bike is straightforward. It’s a skill unlikely to have been forgotten even many years later. 

A basic bike is relatively inexpensive to buy.  Cycling has a low barrier of entry: you don’t need to spend a small fortune to get started.  Bikes can often be bought second-hand and you may already have one in a shed or garage. 

Cycling is great for heart health.  Bike Radar writes that around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be prevented each year if people were fitter. Cycling 20 miles a week could cut your risk of heart disease in half.

Moderate exercise can also boost immunity.  We know it’s less likely that you’ll suffer from an upper respiratory illness if you participate in exercise. 

Exercising at a moderate level can also reduce your risk of developing cancer, diabetes or having a stroke. 

Cycling is great for weight loss, too, and it can also help reduce the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. 

Going for a bike ride is something the entire family can enjoy doing together.  When the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted, it’ll also be a great way to meet new people through clubs and organisations.

How Cycling is Good for the Environment

The United Nations believes we have less than a decade to minimise the damage of climate change.

In 2019, the UK Government declared a climate emergency.  The effects of global warming are becoming more and more visible throughout the world in everything from flooding, increased sea temperatures to drought and coral bleaching.  

Cars are a huge threat to the environment. They’re one of the biggest contributors to poor air quality and carbon emissions.  We all rely on them to get around but the damage they’re doing to our health and the planet cannot be understated.  Cycling is one way of reducing the impact of those emissions by using peddle power instead of horsepower. 

Public transport outside London can be sporadic and expensive.  Cycling offers people a carbon-free way of getting around for less.

And saving the environment through cycling doesn’t only have to be done outside. Energym is developing spin-bikes for commercial and domestic use that converts human-generated energy into useable electricity to power gyms and homes. 

Whether you do it indoors or outdoors, cycling is one way of playing your part in saving the planet without feeling as if you’ve had to give something up. 

How Can You Take Part in Bike Week?

You can still celebrate bike week even during the lockdown.  The Government recently relaxed the rules on exercising outdoors so there’s no reason not to get outside and go for a bike ride. 

You don’t have to go far, either. It can be a quick ride down to the shops, around a local park or a quick trip around your neighbourhood. 

UK Cycling has launched 7-days of cycling to coincide with bike week.  It wants people to aim to ride every day for a week and then to share their activity via a photo, video or story using #BikeWeek and #7DaysofCycling on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  If you can’t do the full 7 days, don’t worry.  You can join in as much or as little as you like. 

Selected participants will also receive a prize. 

We’re looking forward to following the hashtags this week and to see where everyone is heading for their rides.  Remember to be considerate to other road and pavement users during this difficult period and ensure that your bike is safe to use.  You can find bike safety tips on the UK cycling website. 

Interested in how the energy from your spin bike workout could power your premises or home?  Visit the Energym website to find out more and to see the technology in action.

World Environment Day 2020

World Environment Day 2020

It’s hard to think about anything other than COVID-19 right now.

Unfortunately, environmental challenges don’t disappear just because we’re facing a pandemic. 

World Environment Day 2020 (WED) will look and feel a little different this year.  With much of the world either in lockdown or adhering to some form of social distancing, it will mostly take place within digital events and platforms. 

If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s how easily localised issues can become global emergencies. 

We’re all vulnerable to Coronavirus and worryingly, we’re all vulnerable to environmental challenges, too. 

What is World Environment Day?

World Environment Day is an international event that encourages people to engage with environmental issues at a local, national and international level.  It’s a means of creating conversations about environmental challenges and issues and also about celebrating the diversity of life on earth.

When is World Environment Day 2020?

It’s celebrated each year on June 5th.

When Was It First Celebrated?

It was first celebrated in 1974 during the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and has been an annual event ever since.  Each year sees a different host nation and a different theme.  

World Environment Day 2019 was held in China, for example, and the theme was air pollution.  The World Health Organisation reports that around 4.6 million people each year die due to poor air quality.

Previous years have focused on issues such as rising sea temperatures, food waste and the illegal animal trade.  

What is the Theme for World Environment Day 2020?

2020’s theme is biodiversity.  Biodiversity describes all living species on Earth: plant, animal and fungi, and the unique contribution each one makes to the eco-system it inhabits. 

Humans benefit hugely from biodiversity, but we’re also its biggest threat. 

COVID-19 is an example of what can happen when we upset the balance of biodiversity.  According to the United Nations, ‘75% of all emerging infectious diseases in humans are transmitted to people by animals.’

Why Should We Celebrate it? 

World Environment Day calls on everyone to do their part: consumers, businesses, celebrities, industries and governments.  We all share the same living space and, as in the case of COVID-19, can be equally vulnerable to global challenges and disasters. 

It’s an opportunity to have conversations with employees, employers, politicians, children and friends about environmental issues that we may be unaware of. Certainly, forest fires, coral bleaching, extinction of species and deforestation etc, can seem like someone else’s issue when you live thousands of miles away in the UK. Unfortunately, when we start seeing the effects here, it’ll be too late.  

How Can Your Business Celebrate World Environment Day? 

This year will be a little trickier given so many employees are furloughed or working from home.  You may find yourself more concerned with keeping your business afloat than about starting a dialogue about the environment.  There are some really simple things you can do, however.

  • You could start allowing people to work from home to save on the commute or set-up a car share. 
  • You could encourage employees to bike into work (the Government has a scheme for this.
  • You could introduce recycling facilities or arrange a litter-pick. 
  • You could pick an environmental charity to raise funds for over the next year. 
  • You could work to reduce the carbon footprint of your premises. 
  • You could find ways to encourage conversations about the environment through leaflets or websites. 
  • You can look into energy-generating gym equipment both for your premises and home that harnesses human power to generate electricity.  

How Can Everyone Else Celebrate World Environment Day

Even with social distancing measures in place, there’s still lots going on online.  Visit the World Environment Day website for details about online conferences, digital speakers, virtual events and even live African safaris. You can also follow along via social media.  If you have an event, then you can add it to the database. 

World Environment Day celebrates the unique tapestry of life on our planet but it also wants to show us the urgency of protecting it and ensuring that other generations will be able to enjoy and benefit from the rich biodiversity of our planet. 

It’s a lesson we can’t wait too long to learn. 

The Importance of Celebrating Biodiversity on World Environment Day

The Importance of Celebrating Biodiversity on World Environment Day

World Environment Day on June 5th 2020 is celebrating biodiversity. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many of us don’t have the freedom to explore and experience the world around us like we used to.  We can’t take the holidays we want and even visiting local beauty spots has been out of bounds for many people.

Our worlds have become a lot smaller. We’re living far more in our neighbourhoods and our back gardens than before but even so near to where we live the range of plant and animal life is remarkable. 

If you were to take a pen and paper and spend 10 minutes listing the different species within ten paces of your home, you’d probably be surprised at the amount of nature contributing to the area you live in. 

And everything from the worms in the soil, the bees zipping between the blooms, the birds perched on the roofs and fence posts to the pine trees at the end of your street (and everything in, on, around and under) contributes to the eco-systems that we live alongside. 

COVID-19 and World Environment Day

So much in nature is about balance. 

What we do as a species is beginning to upset that balance.

Within just a few months of COVID-19, we’ve seen a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. Air quality in major cities has improved considerably, and we’re seeing a return of plant and animal species in public areas that have emptied of people.

It’s both startling and comforting to see how quickly the planet can hit that reset button when it’s able to. 

World Environment Day uses the current pandemic as an example of what happens when human activity contributes to ‘conditions in which viruses can more easily be transmitted between animals and humans, resulting in infectious diseases like COVID-19’.

Biodiversity has allowed us to thrive on this planet but as human activity becomes more aggressive and more short-term in its thinking and its methods, we can assume that this may not be the only global emergency we’ll face in our lifetimes.  

What does biodiversity mean?

According to National Geographic, biodiversity means the variety of living things. 

It includes plant, animal, and marine life, as well as fungi.  

Writing in The Guardian, Damian Carrington explains that around 1.7 million species of plant, animal and fungi have been recorded but there could be as many as 9 million other varieties of life on our planet with the potential for up to 100 million as of yet unrecorded species.  

Biological diversity or biodiversity seems too simple a term to sum up quite how incredible and unique life on earth is.  

But biodiversity isn’t just about individual species and how many there are.  It’s not just a checklist of things to watch out for in an Attenborough documentary, because it’s also about how each living creature contributes to the bigger picture of life on earth. 

The way species interact with their eco-system helps keep the world in balance, and it also helps support human life both directly and indirectly. Damian Carrington writes about trees providing oxygen for us to breathe, bees pollinating flowers so crops can grow, and even fungi growing on a sloth’s back provides ingredients for anti-cancer drugs. 

How does biodiversity fit into World Environment Day?

World Environment Day celebrates the importance of biodiversity in sustaining human life on earth.  

The UN also sees biodiversity as being fundamental to its 17 sustainable development goals which, according to the UN, address ‘global challenges relating to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.’

The way the world interacts with itself and the way we interact with it is critical in issues that at first glance seem unconnected. 

Poverty and inequality, for example, are very much rooted in sustainable development issues.  

For example, 70% of the world’s poorest people depend on biodiversity to survive.  

These people live in areas where food, employment, shelter, protection from flooding or drought, etc, are dependent on the local eco-system.  Biodiversity loss has a devastating impact on the humans living in and alongside it. 

How Can We Celebrate Biodiversity on World Environment Day?

You can visit the World Environment Day website to see what online events are planned.  You can also register your sustainability event, too. 

COVID-19 means we can’t celebrate face-to-face or engage with issues in person but a lot is going on in the digital environment including online conferences, activities, competitions, tours, and even a virtual African safari. 

With so many children off school right now, it’s a fantastic opportunity to introduce them to environmental issues and help them understand the value of biodiversity in an educational but fun way. 

You can also join in by following #ForNature on Twitter

Biodiversity is critical to the survival of all species including our own.  World Environment Day is about celebrating the incredible range of life on Earth and also educating everyone on why it’s so important to protect it.