marathonAre you walking for a cause? Are you running to support a loved one who survived cancer? Are you racing for a cure? No matter what the reason, there is never a better time to exercise than when you’re doing it to contribute to your community—and a cause at large. Once you’ve chosen the right one for you, here’s how to make the most of it—from the training, to race day. In the end, you’ll become the fittest you, yet!

Get Your Neighborhood Involved

Has it been a while since the whole neighborhood has come together for a cook-out or annual light show? People get busy, which is why it’s up to one person in the neighborhood (that’s you!) to bring everyone together again. The perfect excuse? Do some good for someone else while you have a blast socializing! Put together a casual ‘Sunday potluck’ with your immediate neighbors, and talk about the cause you’re interested in. Get them excited to come together for a cure, and appoint the most social neighbor of the bunch as your team captain. (She’ll undoubtedly be able to raise some serious cash!)

Allow Enough Time to Prepare (and Make It Fun!)

Getting your neighbors on board is step one. Step two is perhaps the most important step of all—keeping the momentum going! In other words, plan a few fun healthy activities for the whole neighborhood to participate in, in order to keep them engaged. It could be a made up mini ‘fun run’ in your neighborhood, or a scavenger hunt for the kids and adults. Organize a few morning jogs for the grown-ups over the next few weeks by assigning each person a ‘running buddy,’ and kill two birds with one stone—connect with your local community and get in great shape!

It’s Race Day: Make a Weekend Event Out of It

When race day approaches, give each other a pat on the back.  Doing good for another is what community is all about, so whether you’re walking or running for a cure, or simply racing to accelerate the awareness of a disease, participation is the most important thing. Have fun cheering each other on, and supporting one another’s efforts. Once you cross that finish line, be proud of what you’ve accomplished. You’ve created a sense of community, given back and gotten in great shape along the way. It’s a win/win for everyone.