Exercise Machines Power Green Gyms

Green exercise equipment to save the planet?

green exercise equipment

Green electricity from exercise? It's true!

Growing up, a friend had a light on the front of his bike. As the front wheel rotated, it created enough electricity to power that little light.

Think about it–when we exercise, we are expending energy. Why not harness some of that to power the lights, radio, heating and air conditioning with some green exercise equipment? Will it be enough to provide enough power all the time? Probably not, but it couldn’t hurt.

The Seattle Times recently reported on a small fitness center in a senior living community that is doing just that with these green exercise machines.

A company out of Taiwan, SportsArt Fitness, makes green exercise equipment that take the same idea of that bike light, and feeds it back into the power system.

Here’s the quick take on how green exercise equipment works — By hopping on a bike, and pedaling, you expel energy. The bike in turn converts that energy into electricity. That electricity is then fed into a power inverter, and sent back into the electrical grid.

One bike by itself isn’t going to create all that much power. But imagine a whole bank of this green exercise equipment, similar to what you see already at your local fitness center.

Is that enough to power a city? Uh, no. Just think how much electricity could be created when you add up all of the crowded gyms in a typical city with these banks of green exercise equipment.

And what if thisĀ green exercise equipment became cheap enough to put one of these bikes into your home? Think of how many people would ride that bike if they thought that they were “being green”. (I really hate the term “green”. It just irritates me.) Now we’re talking about an impact!

Can you think of other ways to make your workouts better for the planet?

Photo by David Ritter

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15 Responses to “Exercise Machines Power Green Gyms”

  1. Tim says:

    I read about these. What a cool idea. I’m really hoping that a U.S. company gets in on the act. I remember seeing something not long ago about a training stand that allows you to use your regular bike, and it has a generator built into it.

  2. Green-Ed says:

    I know what you’re talking about with the stand. I don’t know if I can post a link (I promise, it’s not spam), but I’ll try. It’s to a blog by Matt Shaver. He built a bike stand like what you’re talking about.

    There are a few other companies that are working on this technology for mass consumer use also.

  3. Todd says:

    @Tim, I agree, it would be great for one of the big manufactures, like Precor, to get into this market. And a US company would be the icing on the cake. :)

    @Green-Ed, Welcome! Thanks for the link. I allowed it through. That was very, very helpful, and makes me think about doing something like this. Do you use one of these?

  4. Green-Ed says:

    No sir, I can’t afford one, although I would love to get a system hooked up. I saw on tv that the sheriff in AZ (Arpaio?) has the tv’s rigged like this.

  5. Todd says:

    Was that on ‘Lockup’? I think I saw that too.

  6. Green-Ed says:

    Ya, I think it was. BTW, I was just reading about a gym in NYC that is full of these kinds of equipment. It’s their schtick.

  7. Todd says:

    Now that you mention it, I think I saw something about those gyms.

  8. If it powered my TV and cable box long enough to play one episode of World’s Strongest Man for the duration of my workout, I’d buy one for my home gym. Question is, how does it translate to free weights?

  9. Todd says:

    Good question. I was thinking about that–if you used a system like Bowflex’s Revolution, it might be possible to convert the energy being built up in the springs, or in the spinning disk.

  10. Greg says:

    By definition aren’t bicycles green? By most accounts, they’re the most energy efficient method of human transportation available…

  11. Todd says:

    Hehe, I suppose you’re right, Greg, if you’re commuting, etc. You have to admit that if you’re going to ride a stationary bike, it’s kind of cool that you can help produce electricity.

  12. Wow, really interesting. So much so that I wonder why we didn’t start to take advantage of this sooner. I bet if each gym somehow harnessed their green energy and put it back into their own facility they would save a ton of money. Can we store the energy for later use or use somewhere else or does it have to be used on the spot in that moment?

  13. Todd says:

    Great questions. In order to store the electricity it would require battery packs. While not exactly environmentally friendly, it’s what is needed to store the power.

    There are realistically two things that you can do. #1 You can power the electronics (lights, radio, etc.) in your business, saving money in the long run. #2 By hooking up a power inverter, you can actually sent electricity back out into the power grid, helping out the power company. They will actually pay you for doing that.

  14. Matt says:

    That’s a very interesting concept. Does that mean I get a reduction in my membership dues based on my energy output? :) How’s that for motivation to visit often and stay longer.

    I think I would be more than a little intimidated if the facility using the bikes to power it had as many flat screens as my gym does. It may start resembling a stationary bike slave camp, complete with whips and overseers. Yikes!

    -Matt

  15. Todd says:

    LMAO I hadn’t thought of that. Soon we would all be assimilated into the Collective. =8^o

    I do like the idea of a discount on membership based on energy output though.

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