Volunteering is good for you

April 12, 2016 | by Sivakami Krishnan, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

A funny thing happens when you volunteer to do things that help others.

Besides the glowing feeling of satisfaction that comes with doing good deeds, your waistline might get a little slimmer. You’ll notice a spring in your step that might not have been there before.

A 2013 study by Carnegie Mellon University found those over age 50 who volunteered regularly were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers.

High school kids who volunteered to tutor younger children for a different 2013 study had lower cholesterol and lost weight while they were helping out.

There’s something about giving back – and genuinely wanting to help other people – that makes us healthier.

That’s the key, though. Your motivation makes all the difference. This 2011 study found people who volunteered for selfish reasons didn’t see the decreased risk of mortality like people who weren’t motivated by personal gain.

So put the health benefits of volunteering aside and think about the world outside your door for a moment. Have you been grateful for help at any point in your life? Do any agencies or groups come to mind when you think about where you could help someone out?

Try to pinpoint your passion, and then look for ways to feed that passion through volunteer service in your community.

Volunteers are a treasured commodity at Edward Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital. Each facility has volunteer opportunities that suit a variety of abilities and interests.

The hospitals need people who can greet patients, deliver mail, serve as patient advocates and work in the flower shop or provide clerical help.

Both facilities are currently recruiting volunteers with special dogs for their Animal Assisted Therapy programs. Does your dog have what it takes? Do you want to see your pet put smiles patients’ faces (and hospital staff, for that matter)? If the answer is yes, apply! Doctor’s orders.

Are you already volunteering in your community? How does it make you feel?

Discover volunteer opportunities at our Healthy Driven hospitals.

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