Volunteering is good for the mind and soul. You are able to help those who need it the most by giving back to your community and helping a cause that is close to your heart. But it can be difficult to remain active while you are volunteering, especially if you have chosen to help with fundraising or administrative duties.
If you are volunteering in a foreign country, such as Masisi in the DRC, you can look into local gyms or you could find trail runs that will help to keep you active and allow you to exercise. If you cannot find a gym in the area you will be volunteering in, read on below for some top tips on how to remain active while volunteering.
Sign up for a charity run or walk
Volunteering comes in many forms, and charity runs and walks are just one of them. If you do not have the time to commit to a month or a three-month-long volunteer programme but still want to help a charity, a run or walk is the perfect opportunity to do so.
You can invite your friends and family to take part too, gathering a group together to bring in more money for the cause that is close to your heart. The training that you perform beforehand will not only benefit your physique but could also help you to win the race on the day or finish the run at a good time. Charity runs and walks are often fun and lighthearted, which is good for your mental health too.
Take part in a roadside cleanup
A roadside cleanup is the perfect opportunity to get in some exercise while helping the environment and raising awareness about pollution. You will be spending the day outdoors, walking along the roadside picking up litter. Walking is a good form of exercise for those who do not enjoy strenuous workouts.
Be sure to wear the correct gear for the roadside cleanup, such as safety vests, work or latex gloves, boots or closed-toe shoes and plenty of sunscreen, as well as a wide-brimmed hat for extra protection. Also, bring along bottled water to sip on throughout the day. If you have stopped in one particular area for a long amount of time, you could jog on the spot for exercise or even bring along a skipping rope to use while you are on lunch break.
Educate children on fitness
Volunteering in countries such as Masisi in the DRC will open your eyes to the plight of children. And one way to make these children feel happier and healthier is to educate them on fitness and health. This will educate them on how to care for themselves and encourage confidence in their abilities.
You could start an after-school exercise club or you could offer to volunteer your fitness expertise to your local children’s home. Not only will you be helping needy children and providing them with fun activities, but you will also be keeping active and exercising yourself. Be sure to choose activities that children can easily perform and that will not cause any injuries but make them fun and challenging.
Do some dog walking
Volunteering for charities does not always have to involve soup kitchens and children. While these are very worthy causes, staying active can be difficult. If you are an animal lover and a sportier person, you could look into volunteering your time as a dog walker for an animal shelter.
You will need to check on what is required for dog walking, as some charities might have age requirements or only accept people who have experience with special-needs animals. Your local SPCA is always in need of dog walkers for their friendly dogs, and who knows, you might go home with a “furever” friend after walking for a few kilometres. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring along plenty of bottled water for both you and the dogs.
Build a better future
Building houses for the needy, such as those in Masisi in the DRC, is one of the noblest volunteering adventures you can choose to take part in. You are helping to give people the future they deserve but you are also taking part in a strength building-activity, allowing you to exercise while giving back.
The hands-on physical work can be used as an opportunity to work on your strength and weight-lifting abilities, especially if you are going to be laying foundations and building brick walls. You will need to be able to perform manual labour and not have any physical injuries that could prevent you from lifting bricks and using tools. Read up on the requirements of the project before you sign up to ensure you meet them.
Be actively involved
When you volunteer, you are putting the needs of others before your own. This is highly commendable but can mean that you have to miss out on valuable exercise or gym time. Combine your enjoyment of exercise with volunteering by signing up for a charity run or walk, teaching exercise to children, walking a dog or two and taking part in a roadside cleanup. Whatever you choose, you will be fit, healthy and feel good inside out.