No gym required: volunteering keeps us fit

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Some great workouts can be had without ever going to the gym or even following a workout. Volunteering can help and volunteering keeps us fit.

volunteering keeps us fit - downtown Cedar Rapids farmers market
Talking about the importance of volunteering with WMT during a 2013 farmers’ market in Cedar Rapids.

I volunteer somewhere between 150-200 hours a year and the volunteer opportunities that I enjoy the most usually involve some kind of physical activity.

Highway cleanup

Cleaning up the ditches of a highway helps the community move toward being litter free and provides a great workout.

You don’t actually walk all that fast. You go at a relatively slow pace through the ditch. The workout comes from being on your feet and the repetitive picking up of garbage.

I was very surprised how much trash we found in the ditch the first time I’ve volunteered for a project like this.

Even though I think this is a great workout, why don’t people stop throwing trash out their windows?

Downtown Cedar Rapids Farmers’ Markets

Volunteering at the downtown Cedar Rapids Farmers’ Markets also keeps us fit. I’ve volunteered at some of the yearly eight markets for a few years now. And it’s a workout. Plus, I usually run into a ton of people. It’s great to catch up.

Lots of walking is involved to setup the market as early as 5 a.m., tear it down later on and walk up and down busy Cedar Rapids streets to count the number of visitors. I usually work the 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift and pretty much keep moving the entire time.

Using the My Fitness Pal app, I estimated that I burned around 900 calories during one shift. In comparison, 90 minutes of weight lifting burns around 450.

To sign up to volunteer, click here.

Meals on Wheels



Just about every week I deliver Meals on Wheels for Horizons in Cedar Rapids. Most of the routes are by car, but many of the routes I routinely do get me walking for around 15-20 minutes by the time I’m done.

To sign up to volunteer for this opportunity click here.

Volunteering keeps us fit and we doing something good for the community at the same time. There are plenty of opportunities out there in our community. I hope you’ll consider signing up.