A unique study has just been released that suggests an unusual but potentially effective method for reducing blood pressure in older folks suffering from hypertension: Volunteering.
According to the Carnegie Mellon University research project, which was published in the academic journal Psychology and Aging, a group of roughly 1,100 American adults between the ages of 51 to 91 were tracked during a four-year period. All of them were experiencing normal levels of blood pressure at the beginning of the study in 2006, and investigators wanted to see how environmental influences may impact blood pressure.
In a unique finding, researchers noted that participants who engaged in an average of 200 hours of community service within a year were 40 percent more likely to report normalized blood pressure, compared to others who contributed to the initiative. While the actual activity proved to be inconsequential, it was the actual amount of volunteering that made a difference.
Rodlescia Sneed, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon, said in a press release from the university that the findings add to the body of knowledge that more than just medical factors have a role to play in bodily health.
"Every day, we are learning more about how negative lifestyle factors like poor diet and lack of exercise increase hypertension risk," lead author Rodlescia Sneed, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, said in a university news release.
"Here, we wanted to determine if a positive lifestyle factor like volunteer work could actually reduce disease risk," Sneed commented. "And, the results give older adults an example of something that they can actively do to remain healthy and age successfully."
While more investigation is needed to confirm these findings, it clear that older folks need to do all they can to improve their health. Not only will this help them live longer, but it could enable them to purchase life insurance policies that cost significantly less.