Time to become a ‘philanthrofit’

Stephanie Hazelwood investigates some ways to keep fit whilst helping others

Finding the motivation to get up and move can be hard, especially when your January detox challenge is technically over! But, if you are genuinely worried that you’re losing your drive, it’s time to set yourself a new, bigger challenge, where more than just the definition of your abs is on the line.

Make your next challenge not only about getting fit but also about helping others, the environment or your local community. To give you some inspiration, we’ve investigated some of the more unique, amusing challenges that will enrich your 2019 health goals.

Plogging

As the fear of mankind’s effects on the environment increases, so does the number of eco-friendly alternatives and incentives to do good. It now appears that opting for a paper straw isn’t the only way that you can feel like you’re doing your bit to save the planet. Fresh out of Scandinavia, Plogging is a new lifestyle trend which combines jogging and picking up litter. It is gaining followers around the world, with several places in the UK hosting weekly sessions. If you’re interested, enquire with your local running club or Parkrun to see if they’ve introduced this new charitable sport. If you’re unable to find an organised Plogging team near you, why not start your own? With the increasing online support, it would be easy, fun and inspiring too.

StickK

Breaking a fitness resolution is all too easily done, especially when it was just an idea you came up with on New Year’s Eve whilst sipping a glass of bubbly. However, it’s not so straightforward when you’ve signed up to a ‘commitment contract’ and your money is on the line.

Created by a team of economists, StickK is an amusing app which could help to get your fitness mojo back. Once you are signed up with StickK, if you do not reach your goal, your money goes to a charity you dislike. Yes, you heard right – dislike. Using data-driven techniques that empower behavioural change, this technical health app plays on the concept that you are more likely to commit to completing a challenge if you a) have money at risk and, b) know that money will go to an ‘anti-charity’, a charity you oppose. Now if that’s not going to make you gym-crazy, I don’t know what will! Find out more at www.stickk.com

GoodGym

Bored of your gym routine? Lacking inspiration? You’re not alone! The project GoodGym launched with the aim of combining regular exercise with helping the community. Whether it’s supporting older people with one-off practical tasks, such as gardening and cleaning, keeping someone company or helping with a local community project, GoodGym covers it all. By signing up to GoodGym, you impact not just your health but also the welfare of someone else. This bountiful organisation is now set up in 47 areas across the UK and if it’s not in your area, it can easily be arranged. To get involved, just visit www.goodgym.org and find a local challenge near you.

Charity Miles

No time to exercise? Well, with Charity Miles, there are simply no excuses! This free app logs every movement you make, inside and outside the gym, and then donates money to charity from a pool of corporate sponsors, for every mile you complete. You could be walking to the train station, cleaning your kitchen, picking the kids up from school or dancing at your cousin’s wedding – your every movement is valid. Affiliated with over 40 charity partners, there is a wide range of causes waiting for you to support. Accessed and monitored on your phone, it really is a convenient way to motivate yourself. Before you know it, you’ll be running to the bus stop and dancing in your living room. To find out more, visit charitymiles.org

Green Gyms

Green Gyms are a great way of combining keeping fit with doing your bit for the environment. Organised by TCV, a community volunteering charity, Green Gyms are free outdoor activity sessions which involve conservation work such as tree-planting, sowing meadows and creating wildlife ponds. The emphasis is placed on health and fitness, and volunteers are encouraged to warm up and cool down before and after each session. According to TCV, some Green Gym sessions will help volunteers to burn a third more calories than they would in an average aerobics class! Find out more at www.tcv.org.uk/greengym

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