Typically when we look for outlets that can better our health we turn to exercise and diet. One activity that you may not have thought of yet is volunteer work. There are countless volunteer opportunities that make an immeasurable difference in the lives of others. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to give back to your community as well help yourself. Some health benefits from volunteering include lowering stress and boosting self-confidence. Here are some reasons you should start reaping these mental and physical health benefits today, which will help you lead a better, healthier lifestyle:

1. Fulfillment

Helping those that are less fortunate than you will give you a sense of purpose that you may have never had before. Knowing others count on you for your work gives you something to stick to and look forward to.

2. Decrease risk of depression

Volunteering allows you to socialize and interact with others while building a support system. You will begin hanging out with other people that share common interests and commitment, which have both been linked to decreasing depression.

3. Mentally Active

Volunteering usually gets you thinking and helping others, which increases your brain functioning. Sometimes you will have to really think about the best advice to give to these individuals as well as engage them in activities that involve problem solving.

4. Physically Active

If you are working with animals (for example) you will most likely need to get them out for exercise, which in turn gets yourself out for exercise! Often volunteering for people will involve bringing them on walks, hikes, to parks and other outdoor activities. You may go to places where you haven’t gone before while getting in a workout!


5. Lower stress levels

When serving others that really need the help, you will get a feeling of meaning and appreciation. The people and/or animals will also receive these feelings of meaning and appreciation from you, which is very calming and fulfilling.

6. Experience Increased Happiness

When you workout dopamine is released in the brain and you get that feel-good sense throughout your body, as well as a boost of energy. When you engage in the act of helping others the exact same effect happens to you. Occasionally we get sick of working out and put ourselves down for missing a session. Try volunteering as well as workouts during the week to add variety which both give you happiness and energy!

7. Global Opportunity

Volunteering can open many opportunities for you such as going abroad. Many organizations and programs have voluntourism trips all over the world. This is a great chance for you to see the world, and provide you different perspectives- literally and figuratively- on life.