14 June 2016
As an adult, having a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy. Finding the time for healthy activities, such as exercise and socialising, can be difficult amidst the pressures of modern life. This is worrying, as a healthy lifestyle is crucial for overall happiness and for a long life. The health benefits of staying active are well-known, as are the mental and emotional benefits.
The Army Cadet Force is one of the largest youth organisations in the UK, but we rely on our network of over 9,000 adult volunteers to help us be successful. Volunteering with the ACF involves many activities that promote a healthy lifestyle. Here are ten healthy activities that you can do as an adult volunteer with the ACF.
Healthy Living Activities
- Be outdoors
- Regular exercise
- Adrenaline activities
- Mentor young people
- Learn new skills
- Make friends
- Be part of a community
- Helping your community
- Play an instrument
- Learn survival skills
Between work, commuting and family, it’s easy to end up spending very little time outdoors. This is to our detriment as regularly spending time outside has been linked with improved mental health, higher vitamin D levels, increased focus and creativity, and better immunity. Our volunteers spend lots of time outside in the fresh air.
Exercise is one of the most important healthy life activities you can do. It helps you in innumerable ways – building your fitness levels, reducing the risk of serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease, enhancing your mental health, relieving stress, fighting depression and strengthening your immune system. Leading sports teams and outdoor expeditions means that our volunteers get a lot of exercise.
As an adult volunteer with the ACF, you’ll participate in lots of great outdoor adventure activities, like rock climbing, kayaking, mountaineering, mountain biking, abseiling and caving. Regular short bursts of adrenaline, like the ones you get from these activities, can improve your ability to deal with future stresses in everyday life. They push your mental and physical limits, making you stronger and sharper.
Mentor young people
This is one of the major aspects of volunteering with the ACF and ranks as many people’s favourite. Watching young cadets grow in confidence and diligence and knowing that you contributed to their development is very rewarding. It builds your sense of self-esteem and value too, as you share your talents and wisdom.
Learn new skills
From first aid to gun safety, from leadership to teamwork – volunteering with the ACF teaches you many new skills. Aside from the inherent fun and value in learning something new, these skills can boost your professional career. Learning new skills is also a healthy activity for memory maintenance and cognitive function as you age.
Other than work colleagues and the parents of your children’s friends, it can be difficult to make friends as an adult. The ACF makes it easy – volunteering with us means meeting lots of other like-minded people, all of whom share an interest in mentoring and the outdoors. And with a commitment of a couple of evenings a week and the occasional weekend, you’ll see them enough to build a lasting friendship.
Be part of a community
In a recent survey, 92% of adult volunteers at the ACF said that volunteering was important in making them feel part of the community. Studies have shown that people who have strong ties to a community – be it family, church, neighbourhood, friends or something else – live longer and happier lives.
Helping your community
Giving back to the wider community is incredibly fulfilling. As an adult volunteer with the ACF you will play an active role in your local community by working on environmental projects, visiting the elderly and running programmes for disadvantaged youth.
Play an instrument
Music relieves stress, unleashes creativity, teaches discipline, boosts self-esteem and connects us to something deeper and higher than ourselves. More than half of ACF counties have a band, with cadets and adult volunteers playing together and performing at local, national and international events.
Learn survival skills
You may not need to use them every day, but survival skills can be very empowering. Knowing how to use a map and compass or administer basic first aid can give you the confidence to worry less and live more. These skills also enable you to venture to places you might not have been able to before.