Volunteer for Your Own Blue Zone
A study of studies called a meta analysis was done looking for a correlation between volunteering and risk of dying. Its results were published in Psychology and Aging.
Fourteen other studies provided the data for this meta analysis with the participants being a minimum of 55 years old. The researchers looked at 3 different combinations of factors: unadjusted data, data adjusted for factors like health, and then at a combination of volunteering and religion.
What they found was the following for the first two groups:
volunteering reduced mortality risk by 47%, with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 38% to 55%
volunteering reduced mortality risk by 24%, with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 16% to 31%
When they looked at the combination of religion or being religious and volunteering, they found that …
the inverse relation between volunteering and mortality risk becomes stronger
… meaning your risk of dying goes down even more. This seems to go along strongly with what Buettner found and published in his book, The Blue Zones.
However, as an article that talked on this subject reminds us with the results of another study, your reason for volunteering also has an effect on that mortality risk. You must do it from an “other oriented” motive rather from a “self oriented” motive.
It also appears, based on a 2005 study article I found on the same topic of volunteering, that those volunteers who had more social connections and contacts outside of the volunteering they did were the ones with lower mortality risk.
Volunteers who visited with friends or attended religious services during the previous two weeks had greater reductions in mortality risk than volunteers with less social contact. The magnitude of the difference between religious service attenders and non-attenders was unexpected. However, this is not the first study to find that volunteering is more beneficial to those with more contact and support outside the volunteering.
Filed under Anti Aging News by Sandra