For most people, reading either comes easy or not at all. As children, most of us dreaded the long and dull summer reading list assigned to us by our teachers, unless you were one of the rare kids who enjoyed reading from a young age. However, as adults, we crave the freedom to get lost in a good book while sitting on a beach or snuggled up on the couch. It represents success in some way to have that sort of time. It’s hard to deny the importance of reading knowing that all the top entrepreneurs and CEO’S read countless books every month! Still, many people opt for hours of scrolling and binge-watching their favorite shows on Netflix over an old-fashioned paperback. Maybe if people were more aware of the amazing health benefits of reading, they would reconsider how they spend their free time.
Reading Boosts Longevity
According to a study led by scientists from Yale University, reading can actually lengthen your lifespan. The research showed that adults who read more than 3 ½ hours a week were 23% more likely to live longer than those who didn’t read at least some sort of printed media at all. The study followed the lives of over 3,000 participants for a twelve-year period and found that the readers live an average of two years longer than those who didn’t. Researchers do admit that it is difficult to know why exactly reading increases longevity but assume it has to do with the other many health benefits of reading.
Reading Slows Cognitive Decline
As we get older, our brain’s operating capacity slows and simple tasks become more challenging. Reading, however, has been shown to help improve one’s cognitive abilities since it increases connectivity between brain cells. Reading may also slow down the side effects of cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s disease well into our later years of life. Studies show that when we are engaged in mentally stimulating activities like reading or playing chess or solving math equations, we reduce the effects of other cognitive diseases like dementia. Scientists examined the brains of case participants after their death and found physical evidence suggesting just that. Studies also suggest that getting started at a younger age contributes greatly to prevent such brain-altering afflictions.
Reading Reduced Stress
It’s an undeniable truth that stress contributes to countless health issues and can even increase your chances of having a heart attack. Millions of people have dedicated their lives to reducing stress and alleviating its side effects. Reading is now one of those strategies. A research study from 2009 showed that reading was just as effective as lowering the heart rate and one’s blood pressure as yoga or laughing. Reading for at least six minutes has also been shown to reduce muscle tension and that, combined with a lower heart rate, allows one to experience more relaxation than yoga.
Reading Builds Vocabulary and Boosts Intelligence
Studies now show that reading greatly increases an individual’s vocabulary which is directly linked to one’s intelligence level. This is especially useful for those who read avidly at a young age, since having a large mental bank of different vocabulary words can lead to higher standardized test scores and increase college admission chances.
On top of all of that good reading can improve your social skills, strengthen your brain, alleviate depression and even give you better sleep! The health benefits really are incredible. If you find reading to be tedious and boring, start small and with something that truly interest you!