You may be wondering about our claim that Volunteering is good for your health? We have been taking a closer look at a 2008 study by the Institute of Volunteering Research (IVR). They found that volunteering can increase volunteers’ longevity, improve their mental health, keep them fitter, and enable them to cope better with illness when it occurs. Volunteering also has a positive impact on a range of factors affecting health service users including their self-esteem, disease management, adoption of healthy behaviours, compliance with medical treatment and relationships with health care professionals.

Impact on volunteers’ health

The studies reviewed for this research showed that, under certain circumstances, volunteering has a positive effect on volunteers’ health. It can impact on their:

longevity

ability to carry out activities associated with daily living

ability to cope with their own ill-health

adoption of healthy lifestyles and practices such as HIV prevention behaviours and healthy levels of drinking

family relationships

quality of life

social support and interaction

self-esteem and sense of purpose

view of their own health.

The review has also shown that volunteering reduces the incidence of:

depression

stress

hospitalisation

pain

psychological distress.

(If you want to read the full report, you can find it here)

Listen to one of the past winners of our Cornwall Celebrates Volunteering Awards in the 'Health' category talk about what she gets out of volunteering:

So, if you want to do something fun and enjoyable - and improve your health and wellbeing at the same time - volunteering may be just the thing for you. Go to www.do-it.org to find hundreds of locally available volunteering opportunities.