Volunteering can be a decent weight-loss alternative to going to the gym, and recent research has found that 68 percent of volunteers said they felt physically healthy after donating their time, while 98 percent—that's just about everyone—claimed it made them feel happy and joyful, says Stephen G. Post, professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University and author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping. Here's the breakdown on how doing good can make you feel and look great.
Serve a Hot Meal to Someone Who Needs It
Nearly 49 million people in this country go hungry, says the nonprofit organization Feeding America. That's 1 in 6 of the U.S. population—including more than 1 in 5 children. Check the Feeding America web site for food banks in your area, or search online for your city name plus "soup kitchen."
Calories burned: 537 for a three-hour shift of serving food and setting tables (more if you're lifting boxes or cans).
Muscles worked: Forearms (carrying dishes); legs (walking around tables).
Karmic bonus: The more people who get something to eat, the merrier everyone feels.