Why don’t people in the fitness center generate electricity when they exercise?

Why don’t people in the fitness center generate electricity when they exercise? 1920 768 flustix

To slow down the climate catastrophe, we need more green electricity, there are no two opinions. Wind power plays a significant role. Photovoltaics is becoming more and more effective and important, especially in private households, significant savings can be achieved. But what about kinetic energy, that is, energy of motion? If we can generate electricity for our lights when we ride our bikes, can’t we do the same when we spin at the fitness center? We have researched – and were surprised by the result itself.

Companies promise electricity generation on exercise bikes

In fact, there are some resourceful companies that offer corresponding devices. Especially ergometers are good for power generation, but also cross trainers are offered with an integrated power generator. The prices for such devices are considerable: depending on the design, a cross-trainer with the power generation function costs between 50 and 100 percent more than a comparable model without a generator. No worries, if we produce a corresponding amount of electricity with it, we get the money back quickly, right?

This is how long you have to pedal to power your household

The news portal Focus Online has calculated how long you have to exercise on a good exercise bike to meet the daily electricity needs of a household in a single-family home. The result: 27.4 hours. But because there are only 24 hours in a day, two people would have to do it, each for just under 14 hours a day. Isn’t that impossible? Correct. That’s because of the meager yield of energy generated by muscle power. 150 watts per hour, you won’t get far with that. So it pays to read the fine print before buying an exercise bike. As a rule, the generated power is enough at most for the operation of the device. Nothing else remains there.

Fitness studio chain in England relies on kinetic energy

There are reports from London that make people sit up and take notice. There, the Terra Hale fitness chain is advertising sustainable power generation for spinning classes. What sounds exciting is sobering on closer inspection: because even in these studios, the electricity generated is nowhere near enough to run the equipment, but is used to support the lighting. We feel reminded of the classic bicycle dynamo.

Enormous energy consumption for equipment, air conditioning and showers

Soberly considered, it also quickly becomes clear why gyms are not power plants, but energy guzzlers. Most of the equipment requires electricity. Just think of a treadmill – or the different resistance levels in a cross trainer. In addition, every gym must be well-lit. You can’t do it without air conditioning, plus hot water for the showers, and possibly energy for running saunas. No, that does not sound like a hotspot for sustainability.

A studio in Munich shows how it can still be done

What a sustainable fitness studio looks like is shown to us by Britta Degenkolbe from Munich. She has opened The Good Gym in Munich, a studio for women that does everything differently than the well-known chains. There are no flashing scoreboards here, no high-tech equipment: the rowing machine and speed bikes are made of wood and run without electricity. There are no treadmills at all: When jogging is on the agenda, it goes out into the fresh air.

By the way, the owner also organizes swap meets for sportswear so that it can be used for as long as possible. That is clearly more sustainable than what sporting goods manufacturer Adidas has afforded itself with the current Germany jersey: It’s about greenwashing, microplastics and child labor – here is the whole story.

Image Credits: Adobe Stock |