Volunteer your way to good health?

imagesStudies are finding links between volunteering and good health: from lower blood pressure, to fewer functional limitations and the big one  reduced mortality  those who give their time to others are reaping the rewards.

The Vancouver Sun reports:

“Trials are now being conducted, and the results of one trial have just been published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers at the University of British Columbia led by Hannah Schreier divided 106 high school sophomores into two groups, one of which volunteered about one to 1.5 hours a week for 10 weeks, and the other of which was wait-listed to volunteer at a later date.

The researchers assessed all participants for several cardiovascular risk factors, including body mass index, cholesterol and levels of inflammation. And while there was no significant difference between the two groups at the start of the study, the students in the volunteer group had significantly lower body mass indexes and levels of inflammation, and significantly improved cholesterol profiles, after the volunteering period.”

It is thought increasing one’s empathy and altruism may have an effect on one’s well being and health. The researchers assessed students’ empathy and altruism at the beginning and end of the study and found that students in the volunteer group with the highest empathy and altruism scores at the end of the study enjoyed the most health benefits. On the other hand, students in the non-volunteering group showed no such associations.

If you are interested in the power of volunteering, click here.

Click here for the original Vancouver Sun article.


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