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The health benefits of volunteering

The health benefits of volunteering

Similar to how the rich spirit of New Orleans’ Southern hospitality warms the heart, the health benefits of volunteering can also do the heart good. Helping others and giving back provides a generous boost to our physical and emotional health.

Giving the gift of your time benefits all age groups but particularly older adults. Researchers found volunteer work in philanthropic services, health, social or religious organizations not only strengthened the local community but offered greater physical and mental health benefits for volunteers.

People who volunteer after retirement report lower levels of disability and feel better overall. Most of us expect to feel spiritually lifted by volunteer work, but another lagniappe is the health perks you gain along the way.

Fixin’ to feel good

Volunteering just makes us feel better. Giving back in our spare time can provide a sense of purpose, raise awareness of important causes, and make a difference in other people’s lives. Yet, volunteering is also linked to long-term benefits for your emotional and physical health.

The many benefits of volunteering include:

  • Better mental health. Volunteering helps lower feelings of anxiety, depression and even anger. Researchers found people who spend time volunteering feel greater levels of pleasure throughout their day.
  • Connection with others. Volunteering makes it easier to meet new people and develop strong social interactions. Caring for people with common interests also gives you an opportunity to start a new friendship.
  • Improved problem-solving skills. Regular volunteers tend to develop greater thinking skills they can apply to everyday life.
  • Reduced isolation. Isolation creates feelings of loneliness and decreases social skills, especially for older adults. Giving back regularly puts you in the company of others, which can boost your self-confidence and help you build a larger support system.

Have a healthier heart

Volunteering also improves physical health, especially heart health. Being an active volunteer increases your mobility, boosts your cardiac health, and may help you live longer by reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Volunteering can:

  • Lower blood pressure. Increased physical activity and decreased stress help maintain healthy blood pressure. Research shows positive emotions can actually lower blood pressure.
  • Improve circulation and strengthen your heart. Volunteer participants tend to do more walking. Walking is one of the best ways to boost circulation and develop a stronger, healthier heart.
  • Prevent disability. Older adults who remain physically active through volunteer work can lower their chances of developing a disability.

Toot your own horn about volunteering

Many volunteer opportunities provide a big boost to our New Orleans community. However, many adults are unaware of available volunteer opportunities in their area. If you’re a volunteer who loves what they do, spread the word from the streets to the bayou. You can start with us! Becker’s Hospital Review voted LCMC Health one of the best places to work, and we also have plenty of volunteering opportunities.

Remember, there’s no wrong way to get involved in your community. Find an activity or organization that speaks to you and your abilities. There’s no better time to experience the benefits of volunteering.

We’re ready to welcome you! Get involved at LCMC Health and find the benefits of volunteering in healthcare.