The Holiday Season is a time for giving, and that includes supporting causes and organizations that make our communities stronger.
It’s in this spirit that we share some holiday giving suggestions that offer a healthful return for adults and children, more than simply writing a check.
After all, as therapists, it’s our goal to improve lives and the community by helping people move better and live healthier, more active lives.
It’s based on this that we’d like to offer some ideas for how individuals can give back to their communities, while at the same time gaining benefit from various levels of physical activity.
Increase Joy, Reduce Stress
The holidays are a pretty stressful time for a lot of people, and exercise is a proven way to reduce stress and anxiety while improving overall happiness. Combining physical exercise with holiday giving isn’t just about counting steps or contributing to your exercise goals.
It just so happens that giving and volunteering provide similar health benefits. Put them together, and you’re likely to experience a more joyful and relaxing holiday season.
With this in mind, consider following 5 ways adults and families can give back and be fit this holiday season:
Volunteer ‘Sweat Equity’
There are lots of ways to volunteer during the holidays, and many involve various levels of physical activity.
Collecting gift donations for a local children’s charity, for instance, or helping sort and deliver food donations for a food pantry, requires time, muscle and (if it’s a charitable year) good endurance.
Do a Charity Fun Run
Running continues to grow in popularity, and so do charity fun runs – even during the colder months of the year.
Registration fees for these runs typically go to local charities, and some allow additional individual or team fundraising so you can maximize your donations. Bring the whole crew for a fun family activity!
Check out this website for Seattle fun runs happening this Winter.
Lend a Neighbor a Hand
Most of us have neighbors who could use a helping hand on occasion, be they elderly, disabled, alone, or short on time or money. It’s easy for those less abled to feel isolated and lonely, so even a friendly visit can make a big difference.
The holidays are a great time to check in with your neighbors to say hi and see if they could use some help. Their needs may range from physical tasks like yard work, clearing the driveway of snow or ice, putting up Christmas decorations, or even help with (grand)child care. These are activities that the kids could be involved in, too.
Walk Your Best Friends
Are animals your passion? Perfect! Animals need exercise just like people do, and most animal shelters or pet adoption centers welcome volunteers eager to play with and walk the dogs and cats.
Not only is walking great exercise for both people and pets, but spending time with animals can also lower stress and blood pressure.
Arm Your Smartphone
If the interpersonal aspect of volunteering doesn’t quite fit your personality (hello, introverts), you still have options to give back.
Some smartphone apps like Charity Miles allow you to convert workout miles and/or daily activity into donations to reputable nonprofit organizations.
Of course, if one or more of these ideas sound appealing, but discomfort, pain or a movement limitation is holding you or your child back from giving in this way, contact us.
We can professionally assess your issue and help get you back on a path toward being more active – both physically, and as a contributor to your family and community. We’d love to work with you to support your improved health and independence this holiday season.