By Laurel House
It's hard to just sit here and watch the news reports of the devastation in Japan without feeling the need to do something. But what? Here are 5 ways to help the victims and also do a thing or two for yourself to support your fit lifestyle. Do good for others and do good for your body, too.
1. Fitness Bank
This month, every time you do something good for yourself (like… workout, choose the lowfat over the whole fat ice cream, order the grilled chicken breast instead of the chicken alfredo, fulfill your 8 glasses of daily water intake, or do an extra Daily 100 to boost your calorie burn), drop a dollar into your Fitness Bank. $1 here, another $1 there might not seem like much at the time, but it adds up. At the end of the month, donate all of that cash to a charity that goes directly to help aid the relief efforts and support the victims. Encourage your friends to do it too! Challenge them to see who can stash the most Fitness Cash. Post the call to action on your Facebook page, tweet it, add it to your email signature. THEN, once you feel like you have done your donation duty, keep up the Fitness Bank concept. If you need to save a little dough (since you make so many daily fit decisions and you don't want your dedication to health to put you in the poor house), put $1 in the Fitness Bank every time you workout when you don't want to. At the end of the month, take that cash and buy yourself a present to celebrate yourself. Choose one of these in-need organizations.
Just because your community isn't throwing an "a-thon" to help raise awareness and money, doesn't mean that you can't create your own fitness-themed event. It's a fun way to bring people together, slip in your workout, and help those in need. A few ideas:
-Walk-a-thon (take some tips from the walking guru, Leslie Sansone on ExerciseTV)
-Hike for a Cause
-Yoga Class (if you can't secure a yoga studio, choose a beautiful open location- like the top of a hiking trail, a stretch of beach, a park, your own backyard).
-Hula Hoop Competition (See who can keep the hula hoop up longest without dropping it- each minute in rotation is a $10 donation from the participant's sponsors)
-Softball Game (all of the players, plus the spectators donate)
-Pick a day in the next couple of weeks that you think would work best in most people's schedules.
-Choose a location, path or route for you're a-thon
-Create a Facebook page, do a phone chain, send an Evite, or simply create a mass email to all of your local friends and acquaintances who are either fit-minded, cause-oriented, or just like to be social.
-If you need to, ask a local exercise instructor to lead the group. Since you will be advertising their contribution to all of the participants, they will want to do the class in trade while expanding their reach of potential future students.
-Charge $10-$40 for each participant, or let them choose how much they want to donate. Collect the cash "at the door" or through a donation collection website like www.firstgiving.com.
3. Spring Clean Your Closet and Have a Yard Sale
Whether it's thanks to your new found fitness dedication or just being over a few of your once fave clothes, it's time to try on and clear out those space-takers, throw a gigantic garage sale, then donate old clothes and shoes to victims who want and need them. Devote an afternoon and really get in there, trying everything on and realistically determining if you will wear them again in the next year (not "If I gain back the weight" or "when this style comes back into vogue in 10 years."). Then hang signs in the neighborhood, post on craigslist, and let your neighbors know that you are having a disaster-relief-benefiting yard sale (they can join in the efforts and sell stuff too). In the end you will have more room in your closet (for more items that fit), you will have burned some serious calories (about 135 calories an hour from trying on all of your clothes), and you will have done something really good for those in need.
4. Get Down and Dirty
You don't have to donate money in order to help support the aid workers and victims. Your time is also valuable. Contact your local American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and church groups to see if they need hands to help collect, organize, box and ship relief donations.
5. Give Sky Miles
You've been collecting airline miles for years and you have never used them. Instead of allowing them to go to waste, donate them to aid workers through Operation USA through United Airlines Charity Miles program.
Get Healthy With ExerciseTV!
-Use these walking exercises to make the most of your walk-a-thon
-Stretch with these moves during your yoga fundraiser for Japan
-Download this hoola hoop workout for your calorie burning donation competition
-Get the Lose Weight in 8 workouts to use for your fitness bank to raise relief funds
By Laurel House