150 years ago everything in our homes was manually powered. Households relied on human power to operate their pedal-operated washing machines, sewing machines or bicycles. Nowadays, we use electricity to power almost everything. But with so many of us going to the gym regularly, what if we could use the energy generated by our workouts?
Research has found that the average UK gym user exercises 4.8 times per week, for an average of 35 minutes per session. By calculating their average weight, time and distance per exercise, we calculated their “human power” – the amount of household energy that can be generated by dedicated gym goers nationwide.
New Year, a new source of energy?
It’s January, which means many of us will be going to the gym as part of our New Years Resolutions to get fitter and healthier. So, could this increase in workouts generate additional energy to power our homes?
If we could harness the extra human power generated in gyms in January alone, we could generate enough energy to power Ipswich, Exeter and Windsor for a day.
Run like the wind
Beyond January, gym goers in the UK generate the equivalent of 41.62 GWH per year with their workouts. Unfortunately, this does not match our growing wind power output, at 1,367 GWH per year (that’s about 17% of the UK’s electricity needs).
Pump iron to power the UK
If we relied solely on human power, the energy generated in gyms for a month could only power Scotland for about 12 minutes. Electricity from Greater London would last 14 minutes while Wales would get 21 minutes. Northern Ireland would benefit from 55 minutes of electricity in a month.
So maybe it’s a little ambitious to power the whole of the UK with gym energy, but what about some of the smaller parts of the country? The Isles of Scilly could be powered for 30 days by the amount of energy used in the gym across the UK in the same time period!
Treadmill or tea break?
We may not be working hard enough to provide all of the horsepower needed to run the UK, but what if we break it down into smaller tasks?
As a nation of tea lovers, we often don’t think about popping the kettle for a quick cup of tea. But if our homes were powered by electricity, it might take a little more effort, especially with our seemingly unquenchable thirst.
Gym enthusiasts in the UK generate enough energy during their workouts to brew 208 million cups of tea per month – but it’s not quite enough. Cardiff tea drinkers alone brew 198 million cups per day!
If you’re looking closer to home and just want to fuel your own tea break, you’ll have to do 1,449 squats to boil your kettle… what if you want something to do while you drink your cup of tea? Players would need to do 5,195 deadlifts to fuel three hours of their favorite games, while it would take 5,533 chest presses to generate enough power for a Netflix frenzy.
Or if you’d rather tackle that pile of laundry, you’ll have to row for 10 hours to wash a load of clothes, then run, swim, or cycle for six hours to power your iron for an hour.
Run to recharge your runaround
Based on recent trends in car buying, more of us will be using our homes to power our daily commutes, charging our electric cars from our home power supply. However, if you are away and need a recharge, check out where in the UK has the most EV charging points right now.
If you harnessed the energy generated by the UK in gyms every month, you could charge over 46,000 Tesla 3 or over 788,000 Toyota Prius cars. There would be enough horsepower to drive from the top of the UK down, with a few hundred miles left.
Commenting on the research, Sarah Broomfield, Energy Expert at Uswitch, said: “We should be feeling pretty excited about the amount of energy we are generating in the gym… but when you realize our pedaling and strokes could only keep it going. ‘Scotland running for 12 minutes a month makes you realize how much the UK uses in a day, not to mention a whole year! “
“We can narrow the gap a bit more by making a few simple changes around the house to use less energy, or even switch to a green energy tariff – saving money to spend on our room subscriptions. gym and doing our part for the planet at the same time! “
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