Wait A Second…I Can Volunteer and Get Healthy?

Oktoberfest Reston is right around the corner and the staff at Myers Public Relations is counting down the days to warm pretzels and a funky polka beat. This annual beer and food festival, hosted by Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, is a prime opportunity to connect the Northern Virginia community and celebrate traditional German culture, as well as talented dancers, musicians and food vendors.

It’s also a fun chance to volunteer and reap some surprising benefits. Not only do volunteers experience pride and satisfaction knowing that their contributions have made a project successful, but it’s actually good for your health! A study by Johns Hopkins University found that individuals who volunteer regularly have higher brain functioning than those that do not. Volunteering exposes people to new activities and experiences, which gets those synapses firing – but a happy brain isn’t the only benefit.

Other medical studies have discovered that people who volunteer their time to causes they support have lowered blood pressure, lowered mortality rates and increased positive thinking. The key to this, of course, is doing something that you enjoy, which is why we’re dusting off our beer steins and rolling up our volunteer sleeves for this Oktoberfest.

Festivals are a great way to celebrate the diverse community that makes Northern Virginia a cultural hub, but they also connect people, improve education and reinforce camaraderie. Reston’s annual celebration of music, local food and craft beer is no different. So do your body good and make some new friends this October. Say “Prost” to volunteering!