To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do – John Adam
…to a healthier lifestyle. It is well established that volunteering benefits for our personal and professional development. But the health benefits of volunteering are real and important too. Science and studies have shown volunteering makes us healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally.
- Volunteering leads to better physical wellbeing. With most of us working in desk-bound jobs, volunteering provides avenues for getting out. It keeps us active. Once I spent an entire day painting a wall at a children’s learning centre and while my legs and hands were hurting by the end of it, I felt much more active than I do even after a one hour run.
- Volunteering leads to better emotional wellbeing. Feeling good about ourselves is important for staying happy and healthy. Science shows our brains reward us powerfully when we do something selfless for others. Seeing our skills and time bettering someone else’s life enriches our sense of purpose in life.
- Volunteering leads to better mental wellbeing. Volunteers are able to better manage and lower their stress levels. It takes our mind off our own problems. It will be difficult to have any negative thoughts when you see a child smiling at you (especially when you know you had something to do with that smile) or when you have your hands in soil planting a tree.
Moreover these health benefits are quantifiable through various health indicators like body mass index, cholesterol levels and other markers.
Inputs from a survey study: Doing Good is Good for you – A volunteering and Health study done in 2013 by the United Health Group. The study not only focusses on the health benefits of volunteering to an individual but also to the employers. Healthier people make better employees and thus healthier employers. The infographic below summarises the findings of the study.
We are all, always, looking for ways to a healthier lifestyle. We go for the fruit instead of the cookie for the snack; we wake up 30 mins earlier to fit in time for exercise; we look at food labels before buying. Let us also find time to volunteer for healthier us and healthier communities.
“Oh, how I feel! you will cheer
When you go out and volunteer.”