"Volunteering could add years to your life, may improve mental health: study"
Article by AFP RELAXNEWS from NYDAILYNEWS - Aug 23, 2013
"Volunteering to help others doesn't only feel good — it can also improve your mental health and help you live longer, according to a new study published Friday in the journal BMC Public Health.
In a review of 40 academic papers by the UK's University of Exeter, researchers found that volunteers had lower self-rated levels of depression and high levels of well-being and life satisfaction, although findings have yet to confirm this in trials. Volunteers were a fifth less likely to die within the next four to seven years than average. Volunteering is thought to be especially good for the physical health of older people, by encouraging them to stay active and spend more time outside the home. But young people experience benefits as well: a separate U.S. study published earlier this year in the journal JAMA Pediatrics linked volunteering with improved cardiovascular health in high school students.
Motives behind volunteering include wanting to "give something back" to the community, but if volunteers felt they weren't "getting something back" in return, then the positive impact was more limited, the researchers explained..."
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