Volunteering linked to lower risk of high blood pressure among older adults

There are plenty of articles on how negative lifestyle factors can increase the risk of high blood pressure, but this one explored if a positive lifestyle factor, such as volunteering, could lower the risk. Researchers collected information on volunteering, social and psychological factors, and blood pressure from 1 164 older adults between the ages of 51 and 91 in 2006 and again in 2010. None of the study participants had high blood pressure at the start of the study. Older adults who volunteered more than 200 hours per year had a 40% lower risk of developing high blood pressure. Only the amount of time spent volunteering not the type of volunteer work was associated with a reduced risk of high blood pressure. The article is to appear in the American Psychological Association’s “Psychology and Aging” journal.