Volunteering has real health benefits

September 11, 2013

Volunteering has real health benefits

The opportunity to volunteer at local nonprofits doesn't just give people an opportunity to give back. A recent study conducted at the University of Exeter revealed there are health benefits associated with donating time, reported Fast Company.

According to the research, volunteers studied had a 22 percent lower mortality rate than non-volunteers. This can be attributed to the higher levels of self-esteem and happiness that are achieved by people who pledge their time to nonprofits in their community. Organizations who are looking for ways to get more people involved may want to talk about the health benefits of contributing to nonprofits. 

However, it's important volunteers find a happy medium with their time. Volunteering too much or too little won't allow people to experience the same health advantages. The study revealed that about two hours per week is the right amount of time for those who choose to volunteer.

"The evidence points to volunteering as something that can potentially be good for people, but only when they choose to do it, and at a level that feels right for them," Sue Richards, the lead author of the study, told fast Company. "Compelling people to volunteer is unlikely to yield health benefits."

Older adults who want to stay active after they have retired may want to look into volunteering. According to Rush University Medical Center, adults over 60 years old can experience more apparent health benefits while from pledging their time because they are often more willing to contribute at nonprofits than younger generations. Older Americans can find more purposeful roles in their communities, giving them an easily obtainable goal that can lead to more successful aging.


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