Staying fit and doing good

While many of the initiatives covered so far have involved ball sports, e.g. soccer, football, basketball, etc., other sports and activities that may be thought of more as a way to stay healthy than as a professional sport still can serve as a way to help others.

We include here a story highlighting such activities in the Boulder, CO area, as well as the advent of “volunteer vacations” combining fitness and good works.

The full article can be found at, with an excerpt provided below.


Fitness for a cause: Boulderites mix athleticism with volunteerism

By Aimee Heckel Camera Staff Writer
09/15/2009 12:02:54 PM MDT

When you’re dangling off a mountain’s edge, the bodies below you looking like grains of sand, you can feel very alone.

Sometimes that’s a beautiful thing.

But other times, rock climbing — just like other athletic pursuits — can become highly individualistic and even selfish, says Andrew Councell. Athletes can become so focused on what they put inside their bellies and how their bodies and minds are performing, that they don’t see farther than their own shoelaces.

Not Councell.

The Estes Park man, who works at Boulder’s Colorado Mountain School, has found a way to combine his passion for mountains with helping people around the world.

You’ve heard of races for cures and causes. But using fitness for a good cause can involve much more. Boulder County boasts volunteer programs and fundraisers for climbers, hikers, yogis, nutrition experts, outdoor lovers and even just regular folks looking for an extra excuse to exercise.For some people, it might just mean swapping out one regular workout per week to play tennis with an at-risk kid or teach yoga to domestic-abuse survivors. Others have made volunteer fitness the center of their lives.

Alexia Nestoria, a consultant for the volunteer travel industry, says increasingly more people are mixing their hobbies with humanitarian work. Just about five years ago, Nestoria says there were 10 companies in the world that offered volunteer vacations. Today, there are hundreds. It’s common for outdoor adventure companies and fitness excursions have humanitarian components. Take Ambassadors for Children (, which recently launched yoga volunteer trips in Costa Rica and India.

“The companies have realized this is the market and are marketing a new product,” she says. “Everyone wants to volunteer.”

Especially in Boulder, a city equally known for its social consciousness as for its athletic prowess.

(The article continues at