Can volunteering give you a better heart?

A study published in The Atlantic thinks it could help.

According to the article, Jama Pediatrics studied a group of high school sophomores who spent one-hour a week volunteering with elementary school students.

Before and after the semester started, the researchers measured the students’ risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including BMI, inflammation, and cholesterol levels. After just ten weeks of volunteering, the volunteers had measurably lower levels of each risk factor, compared to those in the control group.

Can we say that this wasn’t just because they spend extra hour a week running after young kids? Not entirely. But researchers also looked at the students’ changes in mood, self-esteem, and sense of altruism. They had theorized that the very act of volunteering could serve as a kind of social intervention, their involvement in the community substituting for the support networks that adolescents at high risk for cardiovascular disease are often lacking.

Why not give yourself a boost and volunteer with the American Red Cross? Whether working out of the office or responding to disaster, we’d feel good about having you on board – and we think you’d feel the same.

 

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