With National Volunteer week coming up soon, it’s the perfect time to think about the benefits of acts of kindness and giving back to the community. What exactly is an act of kindness? It can include any action, big or small, that is made in order to improve someone else’s mood or day. Often these actions are selfless and show compassion for others such as holding the door open for the person behind you, donating old clothes to charity or volunteering within the community.

Acts of kindness have been shown to have many positive effects on the body. Generally speaking, research has been done that supports the fact that those who are kind to others are more likely to live longer and healthier lives. According to Mayo Clinic, being kind to others can improve your self-esteem, elevate your mood, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, and boost the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. On top of this some acts of kindness such as volunteering can even help you to stay more physically active, which will help both your physical and mental health.

So how is this all connected to heart health? Well, three major risk factors for cardiovascular disease are having high blood pressure, being physically inactive and having high levels of stress. All of which can affect how easily the blood flows through the vessels, forcing the heart to work harder than usual. This can result in a weakened or damaged heart along with impaired blood vessels. Finding ways to reduce the stress on the heart can prevent any further damage. Due to the many benefits provided by Mayo Clinic, partaking in acts of kindness that keep you active and improve your mood can ultimately lead to better heart health.

This year, National Volunteer week is April 14-20, 2024. This week is used to bring recognition to the more than 24 million formal and informal volunteers here in Canada. Volunteers play a key role within the community as they help to support many organizations who provide service to those in need. It is because of how important volunteers truly are that we use National Volunteer week as a way to celebrate and say thank you to all of those who so generously spend their time giving back to others.

Northern Hearts would like to extend a big heart-felt thank you out to all our wonderful volunteers and to those who have made donations in the past! Without your continued support we would not be able to continue our mission of providing the public with educational resources and heart healthy programming to reduce the incidence of heart disease in Northwestern Ontario. If you are interested in joining our mission and becoming a volunteer or board member for Northern Hearts, please contact us at northernhearts@tbaytel.net

We have many exciting upcoming events in need of volunteers such as our Charity Golf Event on June 7th at Centennial Golf Course and our Walk with Doc running from June 17th to 27th at Boulevard Lake.

Submitted by Northern Hearts Program Coordinator, Lana Ryder-Methot.