It's been about 2 and half weeks since my last trip to Puerto Rico to be part of the relief efforts helping victims of Hurricane Maria. It was my 4th trip to Puerto Rico since October, and what a
fantastic time it was. From the incredible stories of resiliency to the unbelievable situations people have to endure four months after Hurricane Maria. Many places are still without light and running water and will be in that case for months to come.
Being in the island that I was born with gives me a sense of peace. From the pure air of the mountains to the energy of the people, I feel alive there. Moreover, helping my fellow Puerto Ricans made me feel so good and happy inside, the same high you get after an amazing workout. This is because being of help to other people is scientifically known to make the brain release "feel good" chemicals same as a post-workout boost! You can read a great article on that here.
Other scientifically proven facts on kindness and charity are that people who help others experience fewer pains, aches, and illnesses. Volunteerism also reduces depression and anxiety and helps people live longer as long as the act is genuine and kindness is continuous throughout life. In other words, helping others improves our health which in my world translates to a fitter, better, happier you. Helping others is fitness. Helping others is a health "workout."
Make helping others part of your fitness plans and lifestyle. Whether it's at a local food pantry, charity event/ fundraiser, visiting the elderly, conducting relief efforts in your community, state country or internationally. There are many ways to be of help in our lifetimes especially with the help of technology. Need assistance knowing where to go or how to help? A simple google search may be very beneficial. I saw an ad for a StateFarm funded volunteerism website that you can check out: https://neighborhoodofgood.statefarm.com
Remember, being genuinely fit is not solely how you physically active and healthy you are. It has a lot to do with your mental, emotional, and physiological state as well. Let's make our goal from here on out to be TRULY fit, to help those around us and to take our selves to the next level in all aspects of life keeping in mind that the key to happiness is giving and that giving is a contagious action. We rise by lifting others up. Be fit.
I want to thank every person who made the last four months possible. From everyone who donated items to help the people of Puerto Rico to those who contributed financially through the GoFundMe campaigns. Each of you who helped in whatever way possible made such a huge impact in the success of our missions in Puerto Rico.
I met amazing people along the way, and I worked alongside tremendous and amazing friends and family. I had the pleasure of working alongside my brother Jorge, my girlfriend Denisse, and NJ HIIT Fit fam Benjamin Molina and Samara Caruso alongside the organization The Legion of Good Will.
Thank you to everyone who believed on the cause since day 1 and never lost faith along the way. We made a significant impact in many lives delivering water, food, hygiene supplies, diapers and many other items.
We collaborated with OEM (Office of Emergency Management) sites and FEMA who gave us insight on areas to help. We visited homes and orphanages and met many people along the day.
Although many parts of Puerto Rico are yet to have power or running water, the situation is slowly getting better. However, there a lot to be done and we will be heading back down there shortly. Again, thank you for your trust and thank you for your support as we continue to push forward in the island.
Here are a few of many pics from the relief trips to Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria (Oct-Jan). You can find more pics and videos on my Instagram jose_c_soto and my Facebook at facebook.com/jsoto1985