Feb 24, 2021

Read Books, Live Longer

Read Books, Live Longer

Good news, bookworms! Reading books is linked with a longer lifespan.


A learned man had once said that with every book one buys, one adds a millimeter to one's mental health. This continues to remain today. Books are absolutely amazing things that can be both entertaining and beneficial. During the 11th century, a Japanese woman wrote "The Tale of Genji," a 54-chapter story - believed to be the world's first novel. Nearly 2,000 years later, people all over the world are still engrossed by novels. What exactly do we get from reading books? Is it just a matter of pleasure or do the benefits extend beyond that?


The scientific answer is a resounding "YES."

Reading for 30 minutes a day is linked with a longer lifespan. A new study has revealed that those who read for at least 30 minutes/ day are more likely to enjoy a longer life. According to a study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, compared with people who don't read books -

  • People who read up to 3½ hours a week were 17% less likely to die over the next 12 years
  • People who read more than 3½ hours a week were 23% less likely to die over the 12 year period

In fact, the book readers lived an average of almost two years longer than people who did not read at all. The researchers used data gathered from a bigger health study of more than 3,500 people over the age of 50. The results were controlled for many factors, including gender, age, race, education, depression, employment, income level, and marital status. Reading newspapers and magazines had a weaker correlation with longevity, said researchers.


Crack open those books!

Yes. There's a significant upside to burying your nose in a book every day. The takeaway from the study is that reading books for more than 30 minutes daily may lengthen your life by 2 years! Books engage a reader's mind more—providing more cognitive benefit. An article published by the American National Academy of Sciences states that activities like working on puzzles, playing chess, and reading result in a 2.5% decrease in risk for Alzheimer's, as opposed to those who don't keep their minds active. Reading newspapers and magazines had a weaker correlation with longevity. Reading books has to be one of the easiest ways to extend your life, isn't it?


Increased emotional intelligence

Studies show that reading can increase our emotional intelligence as we understand a whole new range of perspectives and motivations. As we are immersed in a book, it can enhance our empathy as we get into the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the characters in the book.


Hidden health benefits

A growing body of research indicates that reading changes your mind. Though reading might seem like just a simple activity, it can be helping your body and mind without you even realizing it. Reading does more than just help us to learn about our own personalities.

  • Reading is healing and therapeutic. It reduces stress levels and aids in muscle relaxation.
  • Just like with lowering stress levels, reading stimulates the part of the brain that deals with depression.
  • It is beneficial for mental health in relieving depression and it is also linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer's.
  • Studies have shown that reading lowers the risk of neuro dysfunctional diseases that shortens the life span.
  • Reading a book as a bedtime ritual signals our body in winding down to sleep. No, this doesn't mean that reading helps you fall asleep, but it does contribute to improving your overall sleep pattern and restfulness.

So, what should you be reading? Whatever you can get your hands on! Doctors often suggest reading as part of a proper sleep routine. Reading a print book is always much better than reading on a screen.


Did you know? Even after you put down a book, the effects of reading it are still present in your brain. A study discovered that when people read fiction with a strong narrative and plot, their brains continue to ponder even hours and days later.


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