Volunteering is an enormously fulfilling way for retired seniors to spend their time, but did you know it also provides great health benefits?
There are many forms of volunteering, including:
- Helping at soup kitchens or homeless shelters
- Sorting donated clothing
- Visiting home bound or sick individuals
- Helping at animal shelters
- Reading books to children at the public library
- Mentoring children, teens, and young adults
- Supporting veterans and military families
- Running events
- Assisting political campaigns
- Helping out at religious institutions
If any of these options appeal to you, consider reaching out to your local organizations to volunteer. Besides for helping other people, you’ll also be improving your own health.
Here are just some of the benefits you can get from volunteering on a regular basis:
Improve cardiovascular health
Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest killers in the US, with over 600,000 people dying from related complications annually. Research shows volunteering may help lower your blood pressure, which is a huge factor in decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Getting out and volunteering requires a minimum amount of effort, which definitely beats sitting in one place at home. Many volunteer jobs require more than that—a lot of walking, carrying things, standing a lot, etc.
Physically working out is great, but volunteering goes farther than that. It also stimulates your brain. Studies have shown that participating in volunteer opportunities can improve brain functioning and increase cognition.
Lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease
A study earlier this year showed that people who consistently volunteer as little as an hour a week are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. This is because volunteering promotes brain tissue elasticity, and helps your retain more neural connections in the brain.
Better mental health
Seniors who volunteer report, on average, having more energy, feeling stronger, and feeling calmer. Rates of depression also go down among volunteers, and overall feeling of well being increases.
Are you going to make volunteering in 2019 your new year’s resolution?