Psychology Today talks about the long-term benefits of doing a job without monetary expectations. “In fact, during later life, volunteering is even more beneficial for one’s health than exercising and eating well,” notes the source.
It’s mostly due to staying active and connected – the source notes that seniors who volunteer maintain their body and mind from having a regular task. However, it helps to start volunteering early, as this attitude will carry over to your later years more easily, it adds. “Health and longevity gains from volunteering come from establishing meaningful volunteer roles before you retire and continuing to volunteer once you arrive in your post-retirement years,” it explains.
Mental Health Benefits
Harvard Medical School also touts the benefits of volunteering, focusing on both the physical and mental impacts of helping others. The act of helping others helps people stay connected, which wards off loneliness and depression, it explains.
The source also says that “mentally stimulating activities” such as tutoring someone or reading to them can be helpful in maintaining memory and thinking skills, which can decline naturally later in life.
Lower Blood Pressure
The Huffington Post says in an article that volunteering “might literally be good for your heart,” citing a study from the Carnegie Mellon University. It shows a link between volunteering and lowered risk of high blood pressure, which is one of the major causes of a heart attack.
This positive side effect of volunteering again traces back to social connections. “There is strong evidence that having good social connections promotes healthy aging and reduces risk for a number of negative health outcomes,” it says. The study followed 1,164 adults between the ages of 51 and 91, who started the trial with normal blood pressure. Four years later, the participants who volunteered for 200-hours or more per year showed a 40-percent less chance of high blood pressure than their non-volunteering counterparts, it notes.