A new study published in the journal Psychology and Aging reveals that older adults who do volunteer work can almost halve their risk of hypertension.
The study was conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University who followed more than 1,150 adults between 51 and 91 years of age in the United States. The participants were initially interviewed by the researchers in 2006 and were followed up once again in 2010 with the researchers asking questions about the participants' volunteerism and various social and psychological factors while they were also measured for their blood pressure.
The researchers found that those who had done volunteer work for at least 200 hours in a year reduced their risk of hypertension by as much as 40 percent compared to those who did not volunteer.
"As people get older, social transitions like retirement, bereavement and the departure of children from the home often leave older adults with fewer natural opportunities for social interaction. Participating in volunteer activities may provide older adults with social connections that they might not have otherwise.", lead researcher Rodlescia Sneed said