Add volunteering to the list of lifestyle activities that can promote health and well-being. A recent large-scale longitudinal study of nearly 13,000 adults compared adults over 50 who consistently volunteered about 2 hours per week with those who did not volunteer. Those in the first group had a substantially lower risk of dying early or developing physical limitations, plus they had higher physical activity levels and a better sense of well-being in later life.

“Regular altruistic activity reduces our risk of death even though our study didn’t show any direct impact on a wide array of chronic conditions,” said Eric S. Kim, PhD, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University.

The study is available in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2020; doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2020.03.004 ).