Sweat for a Cause

Burn calories while volunteering In no mood to face the gym? Volunteering can help you lose weight and make a difference (how's that for motivation?). Here are a couple of way you can burn calories while doing good.

Put a Roof over Someone's Head

Since 1976, volunteers with Habitat for Humanity have been helping to build homes for disadvantaged families in the United States and around the world. Calories burned: An astounding 1,720 for a full day of carpentry, installing rain gutters or building fences. 1,432 for a day of painting and weather-stripping.

Foster a Pet in Need

According to ASPCA, 5 to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Many of these cats and dogs become homeless when their owner moves or passes away, or when someone in the family develops allergies. Even if you can't permanently welcome animals into your home, you can help them get their happy ending by boarding them until the right adoptive family comes along. Practically every animal-rescue group and shelter depends on foster volunteers to help pet, play with and hang out with the cats and dogs. To find out more about volunteering visit Petfinder.com to find an organization near you. Calories burned: 143 for 30 minutes of playing with and walking animals.

Dish it Up

According to the nonprofit organization Feeding America, nearly 49 million people in this country go hungry. That's 1 in every 6 of the U.S. population, and more than 1 in 5 children. To find a food bank to volunteer at, check the Feeding America web site, or search online using your cities name plus "soup kitchen." Calories burned: 537 for a three-hour shift of serving food and setting tables (plus even more if you're lifting boxes or cans).

Clean out Your Closet

Some people have more outfits than they can wear in a year; others don't have a clean change of clothes for tomorrow. You can help those in need by organizing a clothing drive. Contact nearby agencies such as your local branch of the National Coalition for the Homeless, your preferred faith-based group or a Salvation Army or Goodwill to ask about specific needs. Then invite friends and coworkers to donate their clean, gently used clothes, and to help you organize, pack and deliver them to the agency (or ask if they'll pick them up). Calories burned: 251 for an hour of packing boxes, folding and stacking clothes.