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Health Benefits: Helper’s High

H3 Volunteers at Boys and Girls Club

Helpers High

Have you ever heard of the “runner’s high”? You may have never latched onto the high, but you’ve probably heard the phrase. What about the “helper’s high”? I wasn’t aware of this until I read a recent article, but volunteering actually leads to increased health benefits. There are many aspects that contribute to our overall wellness, obviously physical activity, nutrition, our environment, but how can volunteer activities help us live longer and healthier lives?

In a study conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteer activities not only provide individuals with a sense of purpose and life satisfaction, but the simple act can help service members become physically and mentally strong. In general, the study found that volunteers reported greater life satisfaction and better physical health than non-volunteers. At the same time, older adults experience greater positive changes in their perceived health as a result of their participation in volunteer activities. The results of the survey at large, found those that gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality, less incidence of heart disease and lower rates of depression.

The article went on to explain that the health benefits are derived from the increased sense of purpose. Additionally mentioning that one hundred hours a year is the “Volunteer Threshold” where no further health benefits will be derived from volunteer activities.

About three weeks ago, I implemented a Wednesday weekly fitness class, called “Fit for Life” at the Hilton Head Boys and Girls Club. I felt a need to volunteer because for every overweight or obese adult in the United States, there are at least two children. Who knew I’ll gain some additional health benefits along the way? The class will span over the course of eight weeks and each week, we will bust out some of H3’s favorite fitness classes. The past three weeks we’ve done lucky of the draw, some staple boot camp calisthenics and this week is core strength!  Zumba Instructor Jackie will be back over as she’s been there in the past to get the kids moving.  Also, Amber will soon stop by to get the kids pounding the wall with a little Cardio Boxing, do you think they are ready?

 

Read the entire Health Benefits of Volunteering report here: http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/07_0506_hbr.pdf

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