Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering

You’re a healthy person, right? You eat lots of fruits and veggies, exercise a few times a week, wear sunscreen, and all the other ‘good for you’ stuff!

Well I’m here to inform you of another unexpected healthy thing you should be doing. It might not register as affecting your health but… it’s volunteering! You read that right: VOLUNTEERING is healthy for you!

According to Dr. Stephen Post’s research survey about volunteering (an average of 100 hours/year), here are facts about volunteering and your health:

      • 96% said volunteering makes them feel happier
      • 68% said volunteering makes them feel healthier
      • 58% said volunteering makes them sleep better

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t want to feel happier, healthier and get a better night’s sleep. Sign me up for some volunteering!

Volunteering has also been shown to reduce your stress levels by releasing endorphins (the feel good stuff) making volunteers feel good about what they’ve done and in turn lowering depression rates. Your friendships and relationships can also get a boost since many volunteer opportunities involve group activities, helping to improve volunteer’s social skills. A more obvious benefit is that volunteering can help keep you physically active which can lower your risk of conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and obesity.

Lastly, and probably the best unexpected benefit, is that volunteering may help you live longer. When volunteering you are improving your overall health, therefore improving your chances for reduced health issues later in life. By volunteering at least 2 hours per week, or at least 100 hours per year, you too can reap these unexpected benefits of volunteering.

So now the hard part is choosing which volunteer opportunity to choose! Good luck and may you enjoy the volunteering as much as you enjoy those who you’re helping.

Amy Whary
Volunteer Coordinator
Tel Hai Retirement Community

(Courtesy of Forbes & Care2.)

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