Looking for an outside source of inspiration to provide an added dose of motivation in your journey to health and fitness?
Thinking outside the box of immediate fitness goals, offers many opportunities to make important connections with others- and to give back to greater causes- while working out
Local Organizations Can Benefit
Exercising for a cause allows us a higher sense of purpose and calling; the physical act of working out takes on new meaning. Communities almost everywhere offer charitable events with proceeds benefiting a special cause. A neighborhood 5K run/walk, an organized swim, or local bike ride are just a few examples of venues to help raise money, while raising your heart rate. Your local elementary school, fire station, police department, or parks and recreation department are only a few such worthy organizations you might consider when sweating for a charitable cause.
Consider a Larger Cause
Several nonprofit organizations offer coaching and support for marathons, triathlons, or cycling events when raising funds for their charity. Joining a team for such a cause is a non-threatening way to meet new people, often with less exercise experience than you might think you have! If you have ever felt intimidated sampling a new sport, these organizations are a wonderful way to gain the support of enthusiastic coaches, while giving back to others, and building your self-confidence in the process. Most of these organizations provide a built-in accountability system with regard to training while working toward a fundraising goal. Listed below are only a few examples.
Team in Training
The Leukemia Society of America spearheads a national program called Team in Training (TNT) to raise funds for families afflicted with blood cancers. TNT offers a wide selection of events all over the United States to choose from, while providing participants with hands-on coaching. Walking or running a marathon or half marathon, cycling various distances, or completing a triathlon provides the foundation of their fundraising efforts.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) raises money for the necessary sports equipment and provisions, including hand cycles, racing chairs, and sports prosthetics, for disabled athletes participating in races all around the country. CAF provides all the support needed to get you to the finish line on race day through various incentives and experienced team members. For more information http://www.challengedathletes.org/
Susan G. Komen
The Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure is another example of a wonderful cause that ties physical activity to a greater purpose. Available all over the USA, participants train to walk 60 miles over a long weekend, while raising support for breast cancer research. In return for gathering donations, participants receive a virtual personal trainer, volunteer-led training sessions, a training calendar, and online support for questions pertaining to health, nutrition, and injury prevention. The Susan G. Komen foundation remains the largest network of breast cancer survivors and activists today.
Start Your Own!
If there is a cause close to your heart, consider organizing your own small charitable event. Perhaps you have been touched by someone’s story or struggle. Consider researching a cause that moves you, and then move for a charity event of your creation.
Beyond Body Benefits
The first step can be the most daunting when starting or revisiting any exercise plan. Joining a charitable cause promotes more than simply the physical benefits of exercise- it provides greater incentive to get out there. You may be surprised to learn the byproduct of your fundraising participation is not only a healthy body, but soaring self-esteem, as well.