Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

We all know why volunteering is good. We also know the benefits of community service. But, did you know that the ones doing the volunteering can benefit just as much as the those they’re helping?

It’s no wonder then that approximately 25% of Americans give of their time to volunteer.

In your quest to make sure that you and your family are happy and healthy, did you ever put volunteering on your list of things to do?

Volunteering your time does more than make you feel good. It can provide unexpected health benefits! Read on to learn about the benefits of volunteering.

5 Unexpected Health Benefits of Volunteering

How does volunteering impact the person doing the good deed? Being a volunteer benefits more than just the community or world at large. What are the benefits to your health and happiness as you help those around you?

1. Boosts Your Mood, Keeping Depression at Bay

Just like using exercise to combat depression, doing things for those in need will have the same effect.

Researchers have measured hormones and brain activity and have concluded that helping others makes you happy!

Volunteering also gives you a sense of community, gives you an opportunity to socialize and helps you make connections that are invaluable in decreasing feelings of depression.

2. Allows for Increased Physical Activity

Serving others gets you off the couch and moving. Whether serving people at a food bank or collecting and sorting donations, the increase in physical activity has many benefits.

Volunteering improves chronic pain, reduces the chance of developing heart disease, keeps blood pressure in check and improves overall health.

Our nation’s very important long-term volunteers actually live longer lives in general.

3. Reduces the Risk of Getting Alzheimer’s

Volunteering opportunities keep your brain active and stimulated. They improve the elasticity in the brain and the connections that have been found to break down in those suffering from dementia.

Retirees can get great benefit by keeping their brains active with problem-solving, organizing and seeing the impact they’re having on others through volunteer work.

4. Takes Away Feelings of Loneliness

Did you know that almost half of all Americans have admitted to feeling lonely? Feelings of loneliness have the same effect on your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!

One great way to combat loneliness? Volunteering! You can’t be lonely when you’re out helping others.

Environmental volunteering connects you not only with people but with the world around you.

Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose. Knowing that others are depending on you gets the mind focused on them and not you.

5. Increases Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence

Helping others and seeing the results of your work gives you a great sense of accomplishment.

You’ll take pride in what you are doing and feel good about yourself! You’ll begin to see yourself as others see you–a kind, caring person who does things for others.

When Will You Get Started?

Now that you’ve seen the benefits of volunteering, when are you going to get started? We can help you find other ways to balance your health and well-being. Visit us for advice on anything from balancing work and health to finance topics.