In the spirit of of new beginnings that January brings, many of us have made resolutions to be more giving in the new year.  That giving may come in the form of volunteering at a local animal shelter, contributing more to charity, donating more time to community events…the sky is the limit.  And while volunteering does much to make the world a better place, did you know that giving back actually can IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH?

According to Harvard Medical School, “A growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might also be rewarded with better physical health—including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.”  The article on goes on to site a study done by Carnegie Mellon University: “Adults over age 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. High blood pressure is an important indicator of health because it contributes to heart disease, stroke, and premature death.”

This awesome article got us thinking…what if you combined volunteering AND physical fitness? Win-win!  So in the spirit of improving our spirits as well as our bodies, here are some volunteering opportunities in the Charleston and Mount Pleasant area that will not only give back to some great causes, but can get your heart-pumping as well!

Charleston Marathon and 1/2 Marathon

Happening this weekend, the Charleston Marathon has something for everyone, ranging from a  5K to a 1/2 and full Marathon, a bike ride and youth programming.  According to, “Since 2011 the Charleston Marathon has raised  $470,000 for our charities! These moneys are used to fund grant requests from Charleston County Schools for arts programming.”  If you haven’t registered to run this year’s race, you can still register as a volunteer by checking out this link.

Louie’s Kids

According to their website, “Louie’s Kids is an organization focused on addressing and helping with life changing programs for children and families who deal with childhood obesity. We have a team that offers their expertise, time and passion with nutrition, fitness, self confidence, and more. Another team at Louie’s Kids who  plan and coordinate the many successful fundraisers over the course of our 11 year history.”  To get involved, click here.  Currently they are looking for volunteers for their Family Race Club

Peyton’s Wild and Wacky 5K Ultra (5K and 50K)

Break out a sweat and go big with a 5K (or go HUGE with a 50K…can be solo or a relay) to help out several great causes, including the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund and Mount Pleasant Track Club.  Check out this link for more info.

The sky’s the limit with these events!  There are literally dozens of fundraising events geared around fitness every month in our area.  Be on the lookout by checking out websites like Charleston Magazine, Eventful, and the Post & Courier