How Volunteering Can Help You Lose Weight and Get Healthier

Photo credit: Win Henderson (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself and others is to volunteer. Volunteering not only helps others, but also gives you a sense of community and accomplishment. If you are having difficulty finding ways to stay busy or get more exercise, volunteering is one way to increase your activity level. Volunteering also helps boost your self-esteem, which can have a positive effect on your weight-loss efforts.

Working in a food pantry is an ideal way to squeeze in some strength training while helping the less fortunate. You will get plenty of exercise walking from place to place collecting donations. Someone has to unload the trucks, stock the shelves and help carry heavy bags of food. You can get a good workout lifting cans of food from boxes to shelves, and then from shelves to bags for those who utilize the pantry. You will feel good about yourself after working in the food pantry, because you helped provide a much-needed community service, as well as working up a sweat.

Join a walk-a-thon to help raise money for your favorite charity. Every year, organizations dedicated to finding a cure for cancer, diabetes, or to raise money for homeless or veterans, use the walk-a-thon to help raise money. These walks often require you to find sponsors who will donate a sum for every mile you walk. Many walk-a-thons can be up to 5 miles long, so do the best you can and don’t push yourself beyond your limit. Try to get ready for the big day by walking every day until you can go the distance.

Volunteer to a kids’ sports program. Many communities provide summer sports programs for children. These programs almost always need volunteers. Parents often volunteer to carry balls and other sports equipment, participate as coaches and umpires, or stand in the concession stands and sell refreshments. As long as you aren’t sneaking the popcorn and soda, working concession will keep you busy and physically active for a couple of hours. You will be surprised at the number of calories you can burn just by passing out popcorn, peanuts and drinks in the stands.

Volunteer to collect names for a petition for your favorite charity or cause. Collecting signatures requires you to walk from door to door or from business to business to get those signatures. You can cover a lot of ground by walking for an hour every day after work or on a Saturday. You can also get a good workout by volunteering to set up and tear down displays at job fairs and fundraising booths at local events. Volunteering not only benefits your body, it can benefit your heart and mind too.


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