Book Worms May Live Longer

Reading can bring many benefits to your life. Aside from it being great mental exercise, reading can provide you with new experiences, develop your imagination, and help you learn about the world around you. But now there’s another reason to pick up that book—reading may also help you live longer! According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who read books regularly have a 20% lower risk of dying over the next 12 years compared with people who aren’t readers or who read periodicals such as newspapers and magazines.

Reading reduces stress

Reading reduces stress
Reading reduces stress

By alleviating boredom, reading can reduce stress levels and lower our overall level of anxiety. Reading also encourages brain activity and increases cognitive function, which can help us manage stress more effectively. In addition to relieving stress, reading has also been linked to reducing depression symptoms and may offer some protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Physical books are still popular, but e-books have increased in popularity and offer similar health benefits as print books. There is no evidence that one is better than another; they each have their own pros and cons so choose whatever works best for you! On average, people read four books per year (any type), so consider setting a goal of increasing your reading pace by two books a year.

Reading improves cognitive performance

Researchers have long known that reading boosts vocabulary and our overall knowledge base. But as adults, we have a pretty good grasp on our language skills, so it seems unlikely that reading would make us better communicators. New research suggests that there are other benefits to being a bookworm: A recent study found that adults who read books regularly were better at resolving problems—and even navigating unfamiliar territory—than those who didn’t read much.

Reading improves cognitive performance
Reading improves cognitive performance

Books are less addictive than tablets

If you’re having trouble focusing on one thing, a tablet may be more tempting than a book. But if your goal is longevity, a book might be better: Books let you savor and ponder their ideas in bite-sized chunks. And they make less noise than tablets so they won’t distract you from meaningful conversations with others around you. (Not to mention books are also much cheaper than tablets!)

It takes more effort to watch TV than to read

There’s no denying that television is a terrific way to relax and unwind after a long day. But unlike reading, which doesn’t cost anything beyond your time and attention, watching TV can have a significant impact on your budget. Pay-per-view services like Netflix or HBO Now are cheaper than ever. Many people pay for cable or satellite service—not to mention advertising—which can add up quickly. These costs don’t even include what you may spend on snacks or other leisure items as you kick back with your favorite shows. Reading regularly (or listening to audiobooks) won’t just help boost brainpower and improve your memory; it’ll also save you money.

we do for no other reason than because they bring us pleasure

This is at least one reason why so many experts recommend exercise. Even if it’s only a short walk a few times a week. But what’s most surprising is that reading books falls under that umbrella of healthy pleasures. A new study published in Social Science & Medicine suggests that regular readers are less likely to die than people who don’t read or who read periodicals (such as magazines). The researchers surveyed 3,635 adults aged 50 and older in 1996 and then monitored their health until 2008.

 

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