Help out – stay healthy

Reaching the age of retirement can mean the end of work and social life and a decline in health for some. Volunteering keeps you active and healthy.

With life expectancy after retirement increasing, many people can be left wondering what to do with themselves once they stop full-time work. Keeping fit and active is the best way to ensure that retirement is the next, rather than last stage in life. Many retirees have skills that while no longer put to use in the workforce, can benefit non profit organisations that rely on volunteers to be bale to carry out their good work.

A May 2006 report, Perspectives on Productive Ageing,by the Urban Institute, Washington DC, found that volunteering not only prolonged the life of older adults, but also helped them to remain in better physical and mental shape than their non-volunteering counterparts. A further Urban Institute report highlights that a socially beneficial activity, such as volunteering, can have the same life extending effects as undertaking a regular fitness program.

Of course, the benefit of being involved in light physical activity which will more than likely occur with volunteering activity speaks for itself. Coupled with the social benefits of meeting new people, learning new skills and utilising previously gained experience, make volunteering a much better option than sitting at home doing nothing.

For details on how to become a volunteer, or to find out organisations in your area that are looking for help, click here.

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