What is good for the soul is good for the mind and the body as well, and there is no better way to feed the soul then to volunteer your time to an organization that you’re passionate about. It sounds too simple, right? Believe it or not, there are health benefits to volunteering for people of all ages and backgrounds. The key is finding an organization that is near and dear to your heart. Your local YMCA is a great place to start asking for volunteer opportunities. From office work to working with children and even working in the shop with your hands, the YMCA has endless opportunities for those looking to feed their soul with some time well spent. Enjoy these benefits and more just by giving of your time and talents:
LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
A 2013 study from Carnegie Mellon University found that adults over the age of 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely
to develop high pressure than those who did not find the time to
volunteer. Over 50, keeping a close eye on blood pressure is extremely important, as it can be a contributor to other more serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke and premature death.
RELIEVE YOUR STRESS
A separate study done by United Health Group in 2013 found that 94% of people surveyed stated that volunteering over a period of 12 months has improved their overall mood. The same study found 78% of participants admitted that volunteering has lowered their stress level. It’s not a stretch to believe that doing good for others is also good for ourselves.
FIGHT OFF DEPRESSION
For all ages, volunteering has been found to fill key social, emotional and physical needs that can have a positive effect on treating and
preventing certain types of depression. According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, the science behind this effect is the natural release of “feel good” hormones like serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins when seeing the direct results from their good deeds serving others pleases a person.
TREAT CHRONIC & SERIOUS ILLNESS
In a study at Duke University of individuals with post-coronary artery disease, those individuals who volunteered after their heart attack reported reductions in despair and depression, two factors that have been linked to an increased likelihood of mortality in this type of patient. In a separate study, individuals suffering from chronic pain experienced lesser pain intensity and decreased levels in disability when they began to serve as peer volunteers for others also suffering from chronic pain.
KEEP YOUR MIND & MUSCLES WORKING
After retirement, many individuals find that the amount of free time on their hands results in a more sedentary lifestyle than they may have led while working. As with any muscle – when you don’t use it, you lose it. Your brain
is a muscle you have to keep exercising along with the rest of your body.
Volunteering opportunities allow you to use knowledge, experience and expertise from your career days to keep you sharp. Volunteering at an active location like your local YMCA will also keep you more physically active than volunteering at less active organization.
GET INVOLVED TODAY
If you’re a seasoned volunteer or just starting out, it’s important to decide what you’re looking to accomplish through donating your time and talents to an organization. To help you with that process, we recommend you visit the Naples YMCA at 5450 YMCA Road and fill out a volunteer application. A member of their staff will then meet with you to determine how they can best accommodate your desire to serve.
It’s never too late to get started!
Greater Naples YMCA | 5450 YMCA Road, Naples, FL 34109 | (239) 597-3148