As the year winds down and we enter the busy season of celebrating the holidays, it’s easy to lose sight of counting our blessings. It can be even harder to keep up with healthy habits like exercise. One of the best ways to express gratitude is by finding ways to give back to your community and loved ones. According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, “Studies have shown that feeling thankful can improve sleep, mood, and immunity. Gratitude can decrease depression, anxiety, difficulties with chronic pain, and [the] risk of disease.” Did you know there are ways to express gratitude while staying active? Talk about a win-win situation for your health and wellness! Celebrate this season of thankfulness by trying out these active opportunities to give back.

Incorporate an App

You can find an app for just about everything these days, including ones to raise money for good causes while completing your exercise routine. Charity Miles is an app that will donate money to the charity of your choice with each mile you walk, run, or bike. Woof Trax is another app that donates money to your favorite animal charity by logging walks with your dog. If you’re looking for extra motivation to get moving more consistently, an app like one of these could be the perfect addition.

Join a Race or Walk for a Cause

Many local and global causes host a walk or run to raise money. Signing up for one of these events can be a great way to give back while holding yourself accountable for training. Use a website like Running In the USA to search for races and events across the United States.

Walk Dogs for a Local Animal Shelter

Walking a dog can be great motivation and accountability for exercise. Consider donating your time and energy by walking a dog at a local animal shelter. The pups will thank you for your time and companionship, and you’ll get a great workout.

Be An Accountability Partner

Staying disciplined for consistent exercise isn’t always easy. Finding a support person or accountability partner can always help. Whether you’ve already made a habit out of exercise or are still finding your groove, you can offer to join someone alongside their fitness journey. Chances are, you’ll help each other stay on track. Celebrate each other’s victories and encourage one another through the tough days. Extending support and accountability is a meaningful way to express gratitude to your loved ones.


Volunteering with community organizations can be an impactful way to get you off the couch and moving more, especially if you’re not a fan of traditional exercise. Join local construction efforts with a group like Habitat for Humanity. Give your time and energy to after-school programs for kids where you can assist in teaching them sports and skills that will have lasting impact. Those with a green thumb could consider volunteering their time to help tend or start a community garden. A local garden will keep you busy while providing seasonal and nutritious food to share with others.

Think about how you want to say thank you to your loved ones and your community. Then, incorporate that into your daily activities. Including gratitude in your exercise is an effective way to find intrinsic motivation and purpose behind your goals.

Always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise program.

Continue Reading November 2023 Newsletter: Celebrate with Healthy Nutrition