¿Actividad física más un gran impulso de bondad? Yes, please! Here's how to blend them together.
Whether you’re a new fan of SilverSneakers or a long-time member, you know that we love to sing the praises of exercise. Not only is it an immediate mood boost, it’s also a boon for heart, bone, and brain health.
But what if we told you that you could get even more bang for your workout buck?
There's strong research that kindness can offer emotional and physical benefits, too. Lower blood pressure, less aches and pains, and more energy, to name a few. So imagine all the juicy rewards that can come from turning your Saturday strolls or regular chores into a whole host of good deeds.
Here are a few ideas for how to get started on creating that healthy mix — and turning it into a fun habit.
Remember, you can use the downloadable PDF 7-Day Kindness Challenge Activity Guide to brainstorm ways your favorite physical activities can double as acts of kindness.
Exercise-Kindness Combo #1: Join a Charity Walk
There are many charity-driven walks that allow you to fundraise for a cause you care about and gather a group of friends to join you. Plus, you’ll be reaping all the benefits of walking, says Rocky Snyder, C.S.C.S. He’s an Aptos, California–based trainer and author of the strength training guide Return to Center.
"Walking maintains function in every system in our body," Snyder says. "It can help maintain bone density, a strong heart, muscular strength and endurance, and proper oxygen levels. It's what we were designed to do."
Having a charity event on the calendar can also give you a meaningful goal to work toward, too. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that older adults were more likely to meet their step goals when they knew a nonprofit would benefit.
To get your mind and body ready for this fun event, consider combining your daily walks with the SilverSneakers LIVE Walk Strong Express classes. These 15-minute sessions cover everything you need to improve your walking form, build stamina and endurance, and prevent injuries. Sessions are held several times each week: Click here to check your eligibility. Already a SilverSneakers member? Click here for the latest schedule and to RSVP for a class.
Exercise-Kindness Combo #2: Be an Anti-Litterbug
Although charity walks can help you stay accountable, you don't need to wait for the next one to roll around to do good right in your neighborhood. All you need are some gloves and a trash bag.
Picking up litter not only creates a cleaner and more beautiful area in your community, but it also has a big impact on the animals around you. Nonprofit groups such as the Plastic Pollution Coalition urge you to invite your friends along, too. If you gather five friends and pick up 20 pieces of litter each, that's 100 pieces of litter that won't affect birds and other wildlife!
Even if you decide to go out solo, you can make a huge impact, while getting plenty of movement at the same time. Just make sure you take proper precautions, such as staying away from busy roadways.
Exercise-Kindness Combo #3: Break Out Your Green Thumb
Most likely, you know some people in the community who might have limited mobility or are struggling to care for a lawn or garden area. Helping them might be the perfect chance to dig in — literally — and show kindness, while also getting more movement and fresh air. (Here’s how to turn yardwork into a total-body workout.)
Acts of kindness don't need to be huge to be meaningful, and they also don't have to be selfless. With ideas like these, you can enjoy the emotional and physical benefits while making your corner of the world a better place to be.
Come back tomorrow for Day 5 of the Kindness Challenge, where we’ll share ideas to make self-care — the ultimate way to be kind to yourself! — part of your daily routine. Keep up with the challenge here.
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SilverSneakers members can access live fitness classes and wellness workshops through SilverSneakers LIVE. See the latest schedule and RSVP for classes here.
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