I stumbled on a great new way to get exercise, so I thought I would share! I just started volunteering at Wayside Waifs, a local dog shelter, and I get to walk the dogs for two hours each week. Fun! I may even start running with them if I can. If you have a dog shelter near your, check it out and see if you can do something similar. It seems like a great way to release some stress. Nothing that cute puppies can’t cure, right?

This got me thinking about other ways to exercise while volunteering. Sometimes, workouts can become boring and you need a new outlet. Or, you may have limited time and want to combine volunteering with exercise. I truly think it’s the ultimate combination both mentally and physically. That being said, I rounded up a list of ideas to volunteer and get some physical activity in at the same time!

1. Special Olympics. I was a soccer coach for Special Olympics in college and absolutely loved it. The experience was so rewarding and I always left with such a positive outlook on life. You get to run around with the kids and teach them a sport. You definitely don’t have to have a background in sports, but if you do, it’s really fun to be able to share your knowledge. I played a lot of soccer growing up, so it was a great way for me to connect my passion with the athletes.

2. Senior Living. I have a huge soft spot for senior citizens and I think that you can learn a lot by talking with someone older and wiser than yourself. I actually started a walking program at a senior citizen home during high school and it was really rewarding. I would go each week and walk and talk outside with a group of them. It was a great way to get some fresh air, exercise, and hear about all of their crazy life stories. A lot of places have group exercise programs that I’m sure you could help with as well. I would just check in and see if you can assist with any exercise-based activities or even start a walking-type program of your own!

3. Dog Shelters. Like I mentioned above, I think this a great outlet to get moving outside while volunteering. There are so many dogs that need to be walked and are anxious to get outside, so it’s nice to know that you can help in that capacity. I’m just starting at a local dog shelter, but I’m excited to see how it goes.

4. Girls on the Run. This program is amazing! You can become a volunteer or coach and help elementary-aged girls develop a love for running and physical activity in general. I like that the program is also based around building body confidence as well. I volunteered in high school and had a great time. There were some days that I would run a mile or so with the girls, so you definitely get some exercise in. You also develop relationships with the girls and it’s fun to hear about what’s going on in their lives. I feel like it’s a nice way to take a step back in life and see the bigger picture.

I hope you find these ideas helpful! If you have any other suggestions, feel free to comment below. I would love to hear them!