26.01.2021 | Home fitness in corona times: a treadmill produces 65 kilos of CO2 per year

How eco-friendly is exercising at home?

Tobias Kistner




Gyms are closed, but people are still exercising – outdoors or in their own homes. According to a new survey by Axpo Italia, 70 percent of Italians regularly work-out at home. But those domestic exercise devices can be real power guzzlers, impacting energy consumption and generating substantial CO2 emissions.

The Swiss Federal Council recently extended the lockdown until the end of February. As a result, gyms remain closed. But what has only applied since Christmas in Switzerland has been the norm for Italian sports enthusiasts for much longer. Gyms in Italy have been closed for months.

Only 28 per cent do not exercise at all

The use of treadmills and computer-assisted home-training equipment has increased by 50 per cent in Italy, compared to before the corona crisis. Seven out ten Italians in the survey said they exercise at least once a month in their own homes. And while nearly half (45 per cent) revealed they never exercised at home before the pandemic began ten months ago, only 28 per cent said they have not exercised at all since the outbreak of COVID-19.

These revealing figures come from a survey on the daily routines and power consumption of Italians, recently conducted by the marketing research institute Nielsen on behalf of Axpo Italia and its private customer brand Pulsee. The responses given by a representative selection of Italian women and men between the ages of 25 and 55 were analysed for the ‘Pulsee Energy Index’.

More fitness equipment in use

With gyms closed, it was likely that training at home would increase during the lockdown. However, the "Pulsee Energy Index" findings are striking.

Keep-fit activities within your own four walls lead to more power consumption. While many popular exercises use only body energy, such as planks, performed regularly by 51% of participants, squats (29%), yoga (17%) or Pilates (11%), the picture is very different when fitness equipment is involved. Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said they supplement their exercise routine with home trainers and treadmills. And we know these devices use quite a lot of power.

As harmful to the environment as a train journey from Lisbon to Moscow

What does this increased use of fitness equipment at home mean for the environment?

The mathematics are relatively straightforward. According to the ‘Pulsee Energy Index’ analysis, training sessions using treadmills, exercise bikes or other home trainers last an average of 31 minutes per day. A calculation of power consumption in watts indicates that this generates an average of 65 kilos of CO2 per year. And that corresponds to the emissions created by a 4,500-kilometre train journey – or a trip across Europe from Lisbon to Moscow.

Alicia Lubrani, Chief Marketing Officer at Axpo Italia, who is responsible for the ‘Pulsee Energy Index’, commented: "The survey results were a surprise to us, too. They clearly show that we need to think about our life styles for the good of the environment if we really want to do something positive. In these special times, it’s very understandable that people want to look after their health and stay fit. But we must also think about the impacts of our actions."

Axpo Italia and Pulsee have put together a list of tips on ‘greener training’ for their customers, which includes eco-friendly sports tips such as jogging, biking, callisthenics, dancing and rope skipping.

Green electricity reduces the carbon footprint

Those who do not want to do without a workout on the home trainer need not despair, however. Making the right energy choice is the key. Customers who rely on green electricity at home can reduce or even eliminate their CO2 footprint. Pulsee has introduced a new ‘Zero Carbon Footprint’ service for private households in Italy. This enables customers to compensate for their own climate footprint by purchasing renewable energy certificates to become fully CO2-neutral.

Alicia Lubrani concluded: "We want to make a small contribution to eco-friendly exercise. For the price of a cup of coffee per month, Pulsee offers Italians access to other services with an option called ‘MyGreen Energy’ that guarantees fully sustainable energy sources with a certificate of origin.”

With innovative services like these, Axpo is making sure that exercise continues to be healthy – especially for the environment.

More articles for you

Show all

Energy market

Growing business: how Axpo is helping French greenhouse farmers

Innovative partnerships in France

Read more

Energy market

Weather and geopolitics shape European energy markets

European Energy Markets Monthly, June 2024

Read more

International business

Gas decarbonisation and hydrogen package

EU internal gas market: More green & low-carbon molecules

Read more

Energy market

Weather shifts and renewables drive market volatility

European Energy Markets Monthly, May 2024

Read more