Are you one of the 70%? 70% of people who know that they should exercise, but don’t? While exercising can reduce a variety of health problems while increasing strength and flexibility, Dr. Johnny Bowden points out that “the fact is that most people exercise for vanity reasons, not primarily for health.” So, what can we do? We can take ourselves out of the equation.
Sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? Get yourself to exercise by not thinking about yourself? How can that possibly work? It can, and here is how.
Exercising for Charity
As teachers, we tend to give a lot of ourselves. We care about our families, our students, our community, and causes that mean a lot to us. We give our energy to helping others, because that is just who we are. Exercising for yourself can, as crazy as it may seem, feel selfish when you first begin despite knowing the importance of taking care of yourself and keeping yourself healthy and strong.
So, “trick” your mind by exercising for a cause. Find a charity walk, run, bike, hike, or triathalon whose proceeds go to your favorite charity, research group, animal shelter, or whatever you are passionate about. You are doing it, because you care about them….at least that is what you can tell yourself until you realize you are worth every single moment of your exercise routine.
How do you find a walk or event? There are a couple of ways.
Many National charities and organizations have fitness related events throughout the year. The National MS Society, for instance, has bike rides and walks all over the country that are organized by their local chapters. Start by looking up the main site for the organization and finding your local chapter. The Preeclampsia Foundation is another national organization that raises funds for their charity by holding family friendly walks. In fact, the 2013 Philadelphia Area Promise Walk for Preeclampsia is offering activities such as a bounce house, face painting, balloon art, raffles and more at their May 11th walk at Challenge Grove Park in Cherry Hill. They also have other walks around the country. If you are passionate about a national charity, use their fitness fundraiser as a catalyst to help you get back in shape.
There are many charities and organizations within your community that could use your support. Your registration fee for your town’s Bicentennial 5K or the local hospital’s Heart Health Run will go to support the efforts going on right in your own backyard. Fliers around town, information on locally run websites, and ads in area newspapers can all connect you with fitness opportunities. In some cities there are even running groups whose mission it is to take shelter dogs for a run each week. The Monster Milers in Philadelphia is one such organization that you can easily get involved with. If you don’t feel like you can stick with running for your own health, do it for a shelter animal!
The key to getting healthy is starting to exercise and sticking with it. If you need to give yourself another reason than your own health, there are plenty of charities and organizations that need your support. Pick a charity, set a goal, and get moving. Chances are, by the time you are done supporting a charity through a fitness event, exercising will have quietly snuck in as part of your routine. And chances are you will finally realize you are worth every single minute of it.
Do you have a favorite charity walk that you support? Feel free to share it with us below!