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Originally published Sunday, November 17, 2013 at 5:08 AM

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‘Tis the season for holiday wellness

Use your holiday workouts as a way to spread cheer and help your community.


Special to The Times

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On Nutrition

The holidays are a time for sharing and giving back, but if you can indulge your charitable spirit and ward off any holiday weight gain, it’s a win/win for everyone, right?

Here are a few ways you can get fit and give back, all at the same time.

• Run or walk a race for charity. You may pound the pavement to help yourself live a long life, but why not use those miles to help others do the same? Pick a charity near and dear to your heart, and ask friends and family to pledge money for every mile you run.

• Pick up garbage in your neighborhood. This idea is great for the whole family, as your kids can get involved, too. Gather everyone together, grab a few trash bags and rubber gloves, and hit the town. Walk around your neighborhood, picking up any trash you see. You’ll save the earth a few water bottles at a time and set a healthy example with a new tradition for your family.

• Walk dogs from a dog shelter. There are by far more pups than workers to play with the animals at shelters, especially around the holidays. So offer to help by taking a few dogs with you on your morning walk. The dogs will get some much needed love, attention and exercise, and the animal shelter would love the help. Dogs make great fitness companions, so who knows? You just may find your new permanent workout partner.

• Rake leaves and shovel driveways on your block. You don’t even have to ask anyone’s permission for this one — no one’s going to tell you no. If you are an early riser anyway, trade one of your morning runs per week for a morning raking leaves or shoveling your neighbors’ driveways. Imagine the joy you’ll bring to your neighbors when everyone begrudgingly heads out before work to see the work has already been done for them. You’ll still get in your cardio while spreading a little holiday cheer.

Giving back can make you feel good all over, from the warm fuzzies you’ll feel in your heart from lending a hand to the beads of sweat you’ll form on your brow.

Kelly Turner is a fitness expert and freelance writer. Contact her on Twitter: @KellyTurnerFit, and Instagram: @KellyTurner26



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