Health Benefits of Volunteering

Health Benefits of Volunteering

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, AMC

posted on Jan 30, 2015, at 9:48 pm

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WHILE MANY PEOPLE CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING, more often than not, people have a difficult time actually getting around to doing it. There’s no doubt about it – volunteering is beneficial to people, but did you know it can be surprisingly beneficial for your health too? In 2013, about 1 in 4 adults reported volunteering at least once during the year, according to Volunteering in America.

group of volunteers rally to do workWhile volunteering may seem like a large chunk of time out of you week, you can experience many positive health effects of volunteering even if you are just able to do so once a month. There are so many ways to volunteer, like raising money, serving food, providing transportation, and teaching children.

Some common ways to volunteer in the United States include:

  • Helping seniors in your community: share a meal with an elderly neighbor, play games at the local community center, or invite some seniors to craft or garden with you
  • Help out local homeless animals: walk the dogs, play with the cats or foster a pet from a close-by animal shelter
  • Give back to military families: collect groceries, run errands and send supplies to troops overseas. There is an endless list of ways to volunteer within your life. Consider doing something you enjoy for a long lasting, gratifying commitment. Volunteering has the potential power to bring you mental, emotional, environmental, spiritual and physical health.

 

1. A healthier mind

In a study reported by the Corporation for National and Community Service,
volunteering can bring a sense of purpose to older adults. In a study conducted on volunteers over the age of 65, participants felt an increase in mental stability due to the personal sense of accomplishment felt during volunteer hours. People also felt an overall increase in general life satisfaction from volunteering when compared to individuals that continued to work for pay.

2. Improved physical health

In a study reported by the
United Health Group, 76 percent of the volunteering participants stated that volunteering made them feel physically healthier. More often than not, volunteering requires some physical activity, which is obviously healthy for you. The physical health benefits reported include increased longevity and reduced stress. Giving back, without the expectation of compensation, has the power to impact not only those you are helping, but also your own mental and physical health. The desire to help others and yourself should not be ignored. If you feel inspired to volunteer but feel as though you have limited time, consider starting small. Even once a month can lead to significant health benefits.

 

We want to know: Have you ever volunteered?

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

Contact Mackenzie at mackenzie.thompson@advmedcert.com
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