Posted by The Frugal Diva on 28th January 2015
If you have 2-3 hours to spare each week, you might want to consider volunteering, particularly if you’re 50 or older. Not only can the experience be incredibly fulfilling, new research finds that it might just make you healthier, happier, and more physically fit.
The group of researchers led by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences analyzed data from 73 studies involving people aged 50-plus who were in formal volunteering roles. The results were published in August 2014 online in Psychological Bulletin. Here are some of their key findings:
- Volunteering is associated with reductions in symptoms of depression, better overall health, fewer functional limitations, and greater longevity.
- Health benefits may depend on a moderate level of volunteering. There appears to be a tipping point after which greater benefits no longer accrue. The “sweet spot” appears to be at about 100 annual hours, or 2-3 hours per week.
- Adults considered “vulnerable”, meaning they had chronic health conditions, may benefit the most from volunteering.
- Feeling appreciated or needed as a volunteer appears to amplify the relationship between volunteering and psychosocial well-being.
Earlier studies had also found a moderate amount of volunteering was related to less hypertension and fewer hip fractures among seniors compared to their non-volunteering peers.
“Taken together, these results suggest that volunteering is associated with health improvements and increased physical activity – changes that one would expect to offer protection against a variety of health conditions,” said lead investigator Dr. Nicole Anderson.
No matter where you live, you can find places in need of volunteers. At my kids’ elementary school, neighborhood volunteers serve as “Reading Buddies” to some of younger students to help boost their reading proficiency. Community theaters often rely on volunteers to serve as ushers, answer phones and other tasks. If you love animals, an animal shelters could be just right for you to dedicate a couple hours each week. Local hospitals and churches are also often in need to volunteers. Reach out and find a cause that’s meaningful to you to start reaping the many rewards of volunteering
Evidence mounting that older adults who volunteer are happier, healthier. News Release. Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care. Aug 2014.
This article is written by Stu Lieberman the writer for Nutri-Health.com, an online High Quality Probiotics and Health Store. Assisting people and helping them find quality natural probiotic supplements enzymes and health products online is what Stu has been doing for over 2 years. Nutri-Health.com carries Digestive Supplements to Probiotics to Joint Health.