The new year is a time for new resolutions. Instead of pledging to drink less caffeine or start using that gym membership you bought last January, why not take on a resolution that is both sustainable and beneficial to your health?
Volunteer work is the new health regimen. A recent study conducted by Harvard University has shown that those who take part in regular volunteer work have similar health benefits to those who exercise regularly. Physicians have even added volunteering to their list of recommendations for all patients.
If that’s not enough to convince you, here are five more benefits to get you on the volunteering track for 2017.
1. Happiness: Volunteer work has been shown to increase endorphins, a hormone in the nervous system that causes an analgesic effect when activated. Volunteers often experience this and have an overall feeling of happiness.
2. More time: People who donate their efforts to a good cause often feel as if they have more spare time afterwards. So even if your schedule is full, make time to help others.
3. New skills: You can volunteer in whatever field interests you, from lending a hand at your local soup kitchen to helping a charity with graphic design or event planning. Volunteering allows you to learn new and exciting skill sets that can prove useful later in life.
4. Less stress: Similar to the happiness provided by endorphins, volunteer work has been shown to decrease stress. It provides an outlet away from a busy life and leaves people feeling accomplished and stress-free.
5. Weight loss: A recent study in a pediatrics academic journal showed that teenagers who volunteer showed significant overall weight loss and better cholesterol levels than those who did not. Volunteering may actually help sustain and quicken your health goals this year.
If volunteer work seems like a good resolution for you, check out Beautiful World. Working with partners in Uganda, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, we provide scholarships for girls to obtain post-secondary education. This helps women graduate with a better chance of finding employment and allows them to focus on bettering themselves and their community.