Fitness Through Volunteer Work


Sometimes, it’s less about getting in a workout and more about just finding a reason to get moving. Our motivation may wane, we lose sight of our reasons for starting initially, or we just start to make excuses. As my personal hero Gwendolyn Brooks said, “it is easier to stay at home” (she meant it in a whole different context I’ve found it applies to many situations.) Staying at home is the easy thing, but not the right thing. So what should we do when we simply can’t find a way to get moving?

When this happens, translate your own motivation for a healthier lifestyle into a way to help your community. Volunteering is a great way to get off the couch and get your blood pumping. While you may not burn as many calories as you would at a killer gym session, it might be the extra motivation you need to get off of Netflix and back in the swing of things.

Walk A Dog

Having a dog is a great way to exercise every single day, but not everyone has the means to handle a pup full-time. If this is you, you can volunteer to walk or play with the dogs who are awaiting their new homes, giving a shimmer of happiness to the dogs and getting your blood pumping.


You can dance your butt off for a good cause! Just like many 5Ks benefit different charities, Zumbathons raise money and are a lot of fun. My sister (a total Zumba nut) just recently participated in a Zumbathon that benefited the local SPCA and even adopted a cat while she was there, leading to happy ending for both her thighs and her new fur buddy, Cash! Here’s a website that lets you search by zip code for a Zumbathon near you.

Start a Community Garden

If you have a green thumb (or even if you a black thumb like me and try really, really, really hard to make it green) gardening can be a great workout. There’s lots of sweating, bending, shoveling, and hauling around of mulch and dirt. A community garden is a great way to get all the physical benefits and do something nice for your community.

Join Big Brothers Big Sisters

Let’s face it, kids are crazy. If you don’t have children of your own, Big Brothers Big Sisters is a great way to become a mentor to a youth in your community. The time commitment is small (though you can see them more if you want) and you will not only get out of your house on a regular basis doing something constructive, you are starting a relationship that can last lifetime.

Clean Up Your Neighborhood

Walking around your neighborhood picking up trash might not sound glamorous, but it is an effective way to beautify the streets and get you moving at the same time. Even if you hit the pavement just one hour a week, that’s one hour that you’re not spending sitting idle.

Do A Car Wash

There’s a reason why car washes are classic. They’re an easy way to raise funds, are a whole lot of fun for those doing washing, and might save money for those with dirty cars. Set up shop on a busy street corner with friends and family and get to work! You can request  donations that you will donate to a charity of your choosing or offer the service as a completely free service to your community.

Deep Clean A Homeless Shelter

Everyone knows you can always make donations to your local homeless shelter, but not many know there is more you can do to help those in need. One nontraditional way of serving your neighborhood (and your heart rate) is to volunteer your time to help deep clean the shelter. You can work for as long or as little as you want and the service is always appreciated by those you are helping.

Sort Something

Sorting is another great way to help behind the scenes. Thrift stores need clothes sorted, food banks need food sorted, libraries need books sorted. Again, you are providing a needed service to your community and getting off the couch and into motion!

There are countless ways you can get moving while helping in your community! Do you volunteer your time? Share your fitness through volunteering stories!

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