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Volunteering and Health

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Do you do any volunteer work?

The latest science says you’ll get  more out of it than just an altruistic feeling – it will also boost your health!

The work, led by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences,  examined 73 studies published over the last 45 years involving adults over 50 who were in formal volunteering roles.

The researchers found that volunteering is associated with a reduction in symptoms of depression, better overall health, fewer functional limitations, and greater longevity.

But it’s not a case of more is better –  there appears to be a tipping point after which there is no more benefit. That “sweet spot” seems to be at about 100 hours a year, or 2-3 hours per week.

Interestingly it looks like Zoomers with chronic health conditions may benefit the most from volunteering. Feeling appreciated or needed as a volunteer appears to create a sense of wellbeing.

The bottom line according to the researchers,  these results suggest that volunteering is associated with health improvements and increased physical activity – changes that should  offer protection against a variety of health conditions.

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