There are lots of great reasons to volunteer- make new friends, help out organizations that matter to you, learn new skills.
But did you know that volunteering is also good for your health and fitness? It’s true!
- Volunteering reduces stress and anxiety
Working with others can have a positive effect on how our bodies deal with daily pressures. Focusing on special causes or others in need can give us a greater sense of satisfaction and purpose. And also, as many volunteers attest, it can put our own personal stresses in perspective.
- Helping others improves mood
It seems there’s truth to the old saying “It’s better to give than to receive.”
Studies show that placing the interests of others before our own activates a part of the brain related to pleasure. Helping others can lift our moods and even protect against loneliness and depression.
- Volunteering can improve physical health
According to a 30-year Cornell University study, those who volunteered had significantly fewer major illnesses than those who didn’t. Getting out and dedicating time to important causes may result in health advantages, like lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular fitness.
- Working with others can help reduce chronic pain
Another positive effect of volunteering- it can lessen symptoms of pain. Volunteers with chronic pain who work as peer counselors actually report reduced pain themselves. Supporting others and talking about common issues can help with ongoing pain management.
- Volunteering can help us live longer
We know that good physical health can help lead to a longer life, but good mental health is also important. Spending time learning fresh skills, acquiring new knowledge and interacting with others exercises our brains. Helping others can encourage healthy living and may ultimately impact our longevity.
Volunteering has amazing health and fitness benefits regardless of age and interests. Teach an art class, run errands or raise awareness of important issues. Pick out something you enjoy doing and lend a hand. Everyone benefits!
North Vancouver Recreation and Culture is proud to have over 230 active volunteers between the ages of 11 and 85 who donate their time in our community. To learn more about rewarding volunteer opportunities with NSRC, please visit nvrc.ca/volunteering.