Alternative Energy

Published on May 17th, 2012 | by Lynn Fang


Exercise to Create Renewable Energy

If you walked into an energy-generating gym, you might not notice at first. You’d see your regular sweaty, toned bodies on sleek workout machines, but there’s a special icing on the cake here — these machines are hooked up to batteries that generate electricity. Essentially, kinetic energy from your workout is converted into DC, then converted into AC, the form of electricity used by most homes and appliances today. So your workout could potentially power the building, or even sell it back to the grid.

You can exercise to create renewable energy, what a novel concept.

The Concept Behind Exercising for Energy

The concept is not new since a gym in Hong Kong has created renewable energy since 2007, but the trend is growing. An increasing number of college campuses are installing gyms that generate energy, giving students a visceral, real-life example of just how renewable energy can be created. While the actual power output is still fairly low, the gyms serve a very valuable educational service, creating awareness, and inspiring creativity about how energy can be harnessed from the most unlikely places.

Who’s Using this System?

Florida-based ReRev uses converters on elliptical machines. A 30-minute workout on an elliptical will generate around 50 Watts of power, which is enough to power a CFL bulb for 2.5 hrs. So far, ReRev has installed converters at over 180 machines around the country in universities and local gyms.

Now, there are even outdoor gyms generating electricity. The Great Outdoor Gym Company uses your human energy to power light installations for evening gym use. According to CoExist, an outdoor gym in northeast England generates enough power to light the gym at night. They hope in the near future that it will be possible to charge cell phones and music players, and even send some energy back to the grid.

People say it feels good sweating and working out for a larger goal — one of creating clean energy. I certainly would love to work out there!

{workout photo via The Great Outdoor Gym Company}

What do you think? Would you want an energy-generating gym in your town?

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About the Author

is a compost consultant and educator, eco-conscious writer, and intuitive artist. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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