Volunteering is Good and Good for You
We talk a lot about becoming a Park Angel to improve your local parks, but did you know it just might make you a healthier person too?
While working to develop an upcoming survey for Park Angels, I’ve been thinking a lot about volunteerism and the benefits. It led me to the World Volunteer Web where I found some data that backs up my ideas on the benefits of volunteering.
Scientific studies prove there is indeed a significant connection between volunteering and good health. “Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research from the Corporation for National and Community Service” reveals volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease.
Still have doubts? Check out these findings:
– Adults age 65 and older reported positive physical and mental health because of the personal sense of accomplishment they gained from volunteer activities.
– Volunteering was found to lead to lower rates of depression in individuals 65 and older.
– Heart attack survivors who volunteered experienced reduced feelings of despair and depression as compared to individuals who did not volunteer.
– Individuals over 70 who volunteer approximately 100 hours annually had less health decline and greater longevity than those who don’t.
– Those who gave social support to others had a lower rate of mortality than whose who did not.
Now, the real question is: Are volunteers healthier because they volunteer or do healthier people tend to volunteer? More research required here, but either way you look at it, Park Angels are a good group to be in!