We all want to age gracefully. However, believe it or not, there are many ways we speed up the...
5 Great Reasons to Volunteer in Retirement
Volunteering is a great way to spend your time while giving back to your local community. By contributing several hours a day, a week, or even a month to a local cause, you'll be making a real difference to the lives of others, as well as to your own.
Research has shown that volunteering to help others in need improves both your emotional and physical well-being in many ways. In this article, we'll look at five major reasons why you should volunteer during retirement and the benefits it will bring you and your local community.
Benefits of Volunteering for Older Adults
Making Social Connections
Humans are social creatures, and interacting and connecting with others is part of life. Volunteering is your chance to make new friends from all walks of life. Whether working with children, younger adults, or adults such as yourself, you'll have many opportunities to connect with others who share the same interests.
Often with volunteering, you're working with others to achieve a specific goal, whether running a food drive, volunteering in a soup kitchen, or an animal shelter. As a result, you'll be able to build connections with people who believe in the same causes as you and want to make the world a better place. This will not only expand your existing social circle but also ward off loneliness in the long term.
Physical and Mental Health Benefits
Research has shown that volunteering reduces stress and promotes the release of dopamine, which makes us feel happy and relaxed. In older adults specifically, volunteering can help promote longevity. This is especially true for older adults aged 65 and older, whereby volunteering can help lower depression and anxiety.
Reducing stress, depression, and anxiety levels helps decrease your risk of many physical health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and general illness. You'll not only live longer but also live happier by spending your time with the community.
Volunteering Promotes Physical Activity
As you grow older, it can be challenging to maintain an active lifestyle. However, you don't have to run a marathon or go to the gym twice a day to maintain your physical health. Volunteering often requires traveling to another location or walking around your neighborhood as part of helping the community.
Research has shown that volunteering can act as a physical activity intervention, especially for older adults. Actively moving around on a regular basis can help burn calories and build muscle without causing strain on the body, which other overly strenuous exercises might cause. Actively promoting physical movement will help you maintain good physical health, increase your fitness level, and increase your longevity in the long run against harmful diseases.
Volunteering Provides a Sense of Purpose
In volunteering, the outcomes and goals often contribute to a purpose bigger than our individual selves. It is for the benefit of those in need within the community. This will give you a sense of purpose, especially when giving back to the communities that need help the most, whether it's knitting blankets for newborn babies, fostering shelter animals, or maintaining your local park.
Helping others cultivates happiness no matter who you are. You'll experience a greater sense of satisfaction, pride, self-confidence, and self-esteem. You'll also feel a natural sense of accomplishment, which in turn makes it more likely for you to have a positive view of life.
Opportunities For New Experiences
Volunteering offers you a chance to try something new without making any long-term commitments. There are dozens of volunteering opportunities available, and they might even be something you've never tried before. It's all about finding the right opportunity and taking that first step to experience something new. Or, if you have an old interest that you never really had time to delve into, this is the perfect time to rekindle it!
For example, if you've always been an animal lover, you can try your local shelter if they're in need of help. Maybe if you prefer the outdoors and being surrounded by nature, your local nature reserve might have volunteering opportunities open. Of course, there's also no harm in asking around, as you might find yourself volunteering for something you never imagined doing!
Let us know in the comments below - What is your favorite thing about volunteering?