Healthy Habits

How much volunteer work is good for my health?

A Answers (4)

  • AMatthew F. McCarty, MD, Anesthesiology, answered

    Volunteering has both emotional and physical  benefits on our health. As a interventional pain physician I have a goal of getting people to that point where they feel like reaching beyond their needs and assisting others. In a study of recently retired patients with arthritis Dr. Barlow reported that volunteering led to a new life purpose, pain reduction and a greater desire “to get on with life".

    What’s more in a recent study published in Social Science and Medicine, Dr. Morris Okun and colleagues found that those with the greatest physical limitations benefitted the most from volunteering!

    Volunteering can:

    • Help you connect with the community
    • Allow you to learn new things
    • Give new meaning to your life
    • Boost your self esteem
    • reduce feelings of isolationism
    • change your focus from your pain to others needs
    • restore balance of giving verses taking
    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
  • If you're racing around, losing sleep, and have no time for family and friends in order to fit in as much volunteer work as you can, then it's a good chance you're doing too much. Stress is hard on your body and over taxing yourself, even though you have good intentions, could negatively impact your health. Evaluate your time. See where you can comfortably fit volunteer work in. Every little bit helps. You don't need to be a super-volunteer to make a positive impact. Even volunteering once a week or a couple times a month provides a valuable service to others and will likely make you feel good. Do whatever feels right to you.

    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
  • AJonathan Penney, Fitness, answered on behalf of National Academy of Sports Medicine

    Volunteer work is good for you regardless the amount you complete.  The more the merrier I always say.  Being active within your community and volunteering to complete good deeds will result in great rewards.  Be sure to only volunteer when time allows.  Do not get yourself overly involved to the point where you cannot say no.  If you get to this point then volunteering may cause undue stress and that would take away from the benefit of volunteering.

    Helpful? 2 people found this helpful.
  • ADawn Marcus, Neurology, answered
    Medical research shows that volunteering is great for your health. Both young and older people develop better health and an improved sense of life satisfaction when they volunteer. As volunteer commitments increase, health benefits improve, up to a peak improvement when people are donating about 2 and 1/2 hours each week. People who volunteer more than that often find that volunteering becomes stressful and begins to interfere with their daily routine. Among seniors who volunteer, health benefits are greatest when they volunteer for more than one organization. Younger adults should concentrate their volunteer activities to a single organization. When younger adults volunteer with more than one group, their health benefits begin to diminish.
    Helpful? 4 people found this helpful.
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