Physically active ways to become involved in your community

Dec 19, 2011, 6 a.m.

You probably already understand how community volunteering allows you to do your part for the neighborhood, meet new people and improve your self-esteem. But did you know that volunteering can also be a great way to burn calories? A number of community service opportunities require quite a bit of moving around. If you've been trying to get out of community volunteering with the age-old "I have no time" excuse, you can kill two birds with one stone by participating in one of the following community service opportunities.

Humane society

Foster your love of animals with this wonderful volunteer opportunity. You can work in as much exercise as you want by volunteering as a dog walker. After being cooped up in a kennel all day long, Humane Society dogs will definitely appreciate taking strolls outside with a friendly visitor.


A number of communities are currently taking part in beautification campaigns. One of the easiest ways to clean up a neighborhood's image is to fill it with shrubs and flowers. Volunteer gardeners are enlisted to plant, weed and water flowers, thus bringing life to a dreary landscape. Gardening works several of the body's major muscle groups, including the abdominals, back, legs and arms. Shoveling dirt is every bit as effective a strengthening regimen as lifting weights in the gym, and it costs a whole lot less.

Coaching youth sports

Without the hard work and dedication of adult volunteers, America's youth sports programs would immediately fall apart. It isn't an easy job, but coaching youth sports can be highly rewarding. Better yet, by showing kids how to dribble a ball or hit a home run, you'll be burning calories while having a great time.

National parks

Keeping America's backyard beautiful takes a lot of work. Every day, thousands of volunteers help sustain the natural beauty of Yellowstone, Glacier and a variety of other national parks. Although some of the volunteer jobs are sedentary in nature, others require quite a bit of moving around. To get a good workout, volunteer to clean up campsites, lead nature walks or assist in restoration projects.

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