This Healthy Wednesday to celebrate national volunteers week, Hywel Dda Health Board are asking why not think about what you can do to help yourself and others?

It is estimated that already 500,000 people in Wales are involved in formal volunteering with organisations and around 1.8 million people if this is widened to include informal volunteering so why not join them?

Volunteering can yield many benefits to both mental and physical health, including:

  • A longer life - Being a volunteer extends your life expectancy, when compared with non-volunteers
  • Ability to cope with ill health - Volunteering can help people come to terms with their own illness and help take their mind off their own problems
  • Meeting new people - Volunteering is a good way to meet people. This can be vital for older volunteers and people who might be isolated or not particularly integrated into society
  • Improved self-esteem and sense of purpose - Volunteering can bring back your self-esteem and motivate you. Improved self-esteem can have an effect on other areas of your health and life
  • A positive view of their own health - Research showed that when volunteers were asked to assess their own health, they rated it more positively than non-volunteers

David Fretwell, Head of Volunteering Services at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: "Many of our Volunteering for Health volunteers have said they have seen an improvement in their overall health and confidence.

"Our patients and staff also see benefits too. Although we all lead busy lives giving up just a few hours can make all the difference so this volunteer week why not find an opportunity in your local community and start reaping benefits?"

For more information visit the University Health Board's Volunteering for Health page. For more tips on staying healthy go to www.wales.nhs.uk.