Human-Powered Gyms Do Double Duty

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Clean energy can already power NFL stadiums and the White House, so why not your local gym? Instead of using solar panels or wind turbines, how about tapping into the sweaty patrons?

Right now, more than 80 gyms across North America are doing just that. They have equipment such as the VisCycle (above) or devices on other equipment that capture the kinetic energy created while pedaling or running or whatever that motion is called when you're on the ellipitcal and converts it into electricity that can be channeled back into power outlets. The idea makes a lot of sense when you think about all the energy wasted in gym workouts.

Apparently, human-powered gyms are proving popular with customers, too. "We have seen a significant increase in interest in the past six months, which is a good sign that fitness centers are ready to invest in green technologies," Mike Curnyn told Time. He's the co-founder of the Green Revolution, a Connecticut-based firm that wires bikes into a central battery that can story energy. 

At another gym, the Green Microgym, a 3,000-square-foot facility in Portland, Ore., the average workout generates 37.5 watt hours, which is about enough to power a phone for one week.

If every piece of human-powered equipment were being used at once, the amount of energy produced would be twice as much power as the building needs to operate that given moment. But since the gym isn't full 24 hours every day, it still needs to rely on electricity from the grid.

If you don't live near one of these human-powered gyms, worry not. You can always try a timeless green workout, and just run around outside. It does not have the glamor of a human-powered gym, but it doesn't require any fossil fuels to burn those calories.

Photo: Resource Fitness

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