Two new studies out recently in the U.S. and the U.K. show that making a donation to charity not only helps others, it can make the giver mentally tougher, physically stronger, and more popular.

In the first study, conducted by researchers at Harvard University, volunteers were given a dollar and told to keep it or donate it to charity. After the volunteers made their decision they were asked to hold a weight for as long as they could.  Much to the surprise of the study's researchers, those who had done a good deed were able to bear the load for almost ten seconds longer than the others.

In another test, volunteers held a weight while writing fictional accounts of either helping someone, harming them or doing something that had no effect.  Again, those who thought of doing good had more endurance than those who were neutral.

The second study, conducted at the United Kingdom's Newcastle University, centered on a game involving giving cash to other players.
Those who were generous at the start became well-liked and trusted - and ended with more money at the end. 

Conclusion?  If you want to be strong and popular, forget Facebook and forget the gym.  Just give a few bucks to your favorite local charity and call it a day.

Forget Facebook: Charity makes you popular
New studies find charitable giving makes you stronger, tougher, and more popular.